clove, name for a small evergreen tree (Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) of the family Myrtaceae (myrtle family) and for its unopened flower bud, an important spice. The buds, whose folded petals are enclosed in four toothlike lobes of the calyx, are gathered by hand, dried, and marketed either whole or ground for culinary purposes. Clove oil, obtained by distillation, is widely used in synthetic vanilla and other flavorings as well as in perfumes; it is often considered medicinal and antiseptic.
Cloves have been found among ancient remains (c.1700 B.C.) in Syria, and the spicy fragrance of cloves was used by the Chinese (c.3d cent. B.C.) and by the Romans. The source of the spice was unknown to Europeans until the Portuguese first visited the Spice Islands (the Moluccas) and found clove trees growing wild. The Portuguese and then the Dutch held the clove trade in monopoly, eliminating the tree from all but a single island, until the late 18th cent. Today cloves are products also of other tropical areas, e.g., the West Indies, islands off E Africa such as Madagascar and Zanzibar, and Sri Lanka.
Clove is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Myrtales, family Myrtaceae.
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Strongly flavored common spice that adds flavor to many dishes is also a parasite killer and considered an aphrodisiac in many cultures. Clove oil is used to stop bleeding, reduce inflammation, relieve pain. Cloves are actually the dried flower buds of a tree originating from southern Asia. Clove is an ant repeller. Helps build stomach acid, helps digestion, increases peristaltic action in intestine. Disinfectant. Rub on tooth cavity to stop pain. Stimulating and warming, helps people with cold hands and feet. Promotes sweating to relieve fever. Safe for relieving vomiting by pregnant women.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The unopened flower bud of a small, conical, symmetrical evergreen tree, Eugenia caryophyllata, of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae); the dried buds are used as a pungent, strongly aromatic spice.
A small bulb developed within a larger bulb, as in garlic.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. a tropical evergreen myrtaceous tree, Syzygium aromaticum, native to the East Indies but cultivated elsewhere, esp Zanzibar
2. Botany any of the segments of a compound bulb that arise from the axils of the scales of a large bulb
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005