The clove-tree is a native of the Molucca Islands, particularly Amboyna, and attains the height of a laurel-tree, and no verdure is ever seen under it. From the extremities of the branches quantities of flowers grow, first white; then they become green, and next red and hard, when they have arrived at their clove state. When they become dry, they assume a yellowish hue, which subsequently changes into a dark brown. As an aromatic, the clove is highly stimulating, and yields an abundance of oil. There are several varieties of the clove; the best is called the royal clove, which is scarce, and which is blacker and smaller than the other kinds. It is a curious fact, that the flowers, when fully developed, are quite inodorous, and that the real fruit is not in the least aromatic. The form is that of a nail, having a globular head, formed of the four petals of the corolla, and four leaves of the calyx not expanded, with a nearly cylindrical germen, scarcely an inch in length, situate below.

This very agreeable spice is the unexpanded flower-buds of the Caryophyllus aromaticus, a handsome, branching tree, a native of the Malacca Islands. They take their name from the Latin word clavus, or the French clou, both meaning a nail, and to which the clove has a considerable resemblance. Cloves were but little known to the ancients, and Pliny appears to be the only writer who mentions them; and he says, vaguely enough, that some were brought to Rome, very similar to grains of pepper, but somewhat longer; that they were only to be found in India, in a wood consecrated to the gods; and that they served in the manufacture of perfumes. The Dutch, as in the case of the nutmeg , endeavoured, when they gained possession of the Spice Islands, to secure a monopoly of cloves, and, so that the cultivation of the tree might be confined to Amboyna, their chief island, bribed the surrounding chiefs to cut down all trees found elsewhere. The Amboyna, or royal clove, is said to be the best, and is rare; but other kinds, nearly equally good, are produced in other parts of the world, and they come to Europe from Mauritius, Bourbon, Cayenne, and Martinique, as also from St. Kitts, St. Vincent's, and Trinidad. The clove contains about 20 per cent. of volatile aromatic oil, to which it owes its peculiar pungent flavour, its other parts being composed of woody fibre, water, gum, and resin.

Comments (0)Don't be shy, tell us what you think!   
Colonial Sense is an advocate for global consumer privacy rights, protection and security.
All material on this website © copyright 2009-23 by Colonial Sense, except where otherwise indicated.