Spice Plant

Spice Plant


a plant that accumulates piquant aromatic substances in various organs. The plant organs are used in food as seasonings or to improve appetite and gastric activity. Spice plants are widely distributed throughout the world, especially in the tropics.

Trees are the most common form of tropical spice plants; examples include trees of the families Lauraceae, Myrtaceae, Adoxaceae, and Leguminosae. The most valuable spice plants are the clove tree, which contains essential oils in the flower buds; the cinnamon tree, which has an essential oil in the bark; the nutmeg tree, whose seeds and aril contain an essential oil; and black pepper, which has an essential oil and the alkaloid piperine (imparting a piquant taste) in the fruits.

Widely used herbs include cardamom (essential oil in the seeds), ginger (essential oil in the rhizomes), vanilla (essential oil and aromatic glycoside in the flower buds and the unripe fruits), and red pepper (the pungent alkaloid capsaicin and up to 390 mg percent vitamin C and carotene in the pericarp).

In the USSR many species of spice plants grow wild or are cultivated. Nearly all are herbs and belong to nontropical families. Some of the cultivated species are indigenous to the tropics and subtropics (red pepper, sweet bay, parsley, marjoram). The most valuable spice plants are from the families Umbelliferae (dill, parsley, celery, anise, ajowan, coriander, parsnip), Cruciferae (mustard, horseradish, garden cress), Capparidaceae (capers), Labiatae (basil, lavender, marjoram, balm, mint), Compositae (tarragon), Liliaceae (onion, garlic), and Iridaceae (saffron). The parts used as spices from these plants include roots, rhizomes, fruits, and flowers.


Brink, N. P. Prianye rasteniia. Moscow, 1956.
Prianoaromaticheskie rasteniia SSSR i ikh ispol’zovanie v pishchevoi promyshlennosti. Moscow, 1963.
Vul’f, E. V., and O. F. Maleeva. Mirovye resursy poleznykh rastenii. Leningrad, 1969.
Kapelev, I. G., and V. I. Mashanov. Prianoaromaticheskie rasteniia. Simferopol’, 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
Recently this spice plant has drawn more consideration of consumers due to the antimicrobial antifungal insecticidal and antioxidtaive effect of this herb on human health.
The spice plant in Zanzibar and Tanzania would be created in cooperation with the Indian expertise.
Garden cress is an example of a vegetable and spice plant from which the sprouts are consumed.
P&G bought the former Old Spice plant at Seaton Delaval in Northumberland in 1990, where it manufactures hair dyes and fine fragrances which are sold in the UK and exported to Europe.
Of course, as inspector Dean Cook points out while we walk through a spice plant filled to the roof with sacks of cola nuts, black pepper, and oregano, the vast majority of the goods he checks are safe.
In any case, we can probably expect many more such substantiations of traditional medicinal uses for spice plants in the future.
World Spice Plants addresses this need by informing the reader about the complex worldwide use of spice plants.
These farmers agree to follow sustainable agriculture practices, avoiding the chemical pesticides and fertilizers often used to grow conventional spice plants.