Characteristics of Clove Tree (Syzygium aromaticum) in the Wild

Syzygium aromaticum
Clove is an aromatic flowering plant of the family tree Myrtaceae. Clove trees are native to the Maluku Islands, Indonesia, and are generally cultivated for flowering as spices.

Cloves are often used in Asian, African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern countries. Cloves can give a distinctive taste and aroma to the foods that use it, such as meat, curry, and other foods.

Cloves can also be used to give aromatic and flavor to hot drinks, and are often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar.

Clove flower chopped is also used in making cigarettes called clove in Indonesia. Clove cigarettes have been circulating and smoked throughout Europe, Asia, and the US. Since 2009, clove cigarettes have been classified as cigars in the US.

Because it contains bioactive substances, cloves can also be used as ant repellents and other insects.

Aside from being a spice and clove cigarette mixture, cloves are often used to make fragrances when combined with oranges, and it provides warmth.

The discovery of the first clove tree around 900-1100 AD.

In 300 BC, Chinese emperors from the Han Dynasty used cloves by chewing to refresh their breath.

Cloves reached Rome in the first century AD, where it was described by Pliny the Elder.

Cloves began to be traded by Omani seamen and traders who traded goods from India to mainland Africa during the Middle Ages in the Indian Ocean trade.

The myth, the seeds of the clove tree by the Frenchman Pierre Poivre in 1770, was planted on the Isle de France (Mauritius) and planted again in Zanzibar, then France became the largest producer of cloves in the world.

Until modern times like today, cloves only grow naturally and fertile in several islands in Maluku, including Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore.

The oldest clove tree in the world that is believed by experts named Afo, it grows in Ternate. Its age is estimated to be between 300-400 years.


Characteristics of Clove Leaf

Syzygium aromaticum Leaf
Source : Eickhoff

Clove leaves are oval-shaped and bring flowers to the tops of their branches.


Characteristics of Clove Flower

Syzygium aromaticum Flower
Source : Botanic Gardens Sydney and Environs

Syzygium aromaticum Fruit
Source : Amethist

Cloves initially have a pale color, and gradually turn green, then bright red, and ready to be harvested.

Cloves are 1-2 cm in size, consisting of long petals in four scattered sepals, and four unopened petals that form a small ball in the center.


Characteristics of Clove Trees In the Wild

Syzygium aromaticum Tree
Source :

Clove trees can grow as high as 10-13 meters in the wild with large leaves and clustered flowers that appear together.

Clove trees produce flowers throughout the year, but the harvest season varies.

Geographically, cloves have several varieties, such as Afo, Posi-posi, and Zanzibar (native to the island of Maluku), and varieties of Siputih and Sikotok (native to western Sumatera).


In Mexican cuisine, cloves are known as “clavos de olor”, and are often combined with cumin and cinnamon.

Cloves are also used in typical Peruvian dishes, in various dishes such as carapulcra and arroz con leche.

The main taste of cloves is produced from the chemical eugenol contained, it is usually used together with a variety of other spices such as cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine, basil, onions, orange peels, star anise, and pepper.

In traditional medicine, clove is used as a mixture to make essential oils, especially for treating toothaches.


Clove trees need a tropical climate with 2,332 mm of rainfall per year and in areas with soil elevations of 0-1,500 m above sea level. The most optimal weather for clove tree growth is 20-30 °C.

Clove trees can be propagated vegetatively through stem cuttings or seedling generations. Planting clove tree seedlings is not recommended on sandy soil.

To cultivate clove trees from seedlings, the method is to place the seeds on the surface of the soil and maintain soil moisture. Clove seeds should be planted in soils that have a pH of 4.5-6, and have good drainage.

Clove trees can only produce at the age of 7 years after planting from seed. After that, productivity will be higher after 10 years and continue to increase until the tree is 30 years old.


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