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The Latin word clavus means 'nail shaped', referring to the bud. The dried flower buds of this tree are the cloves of commerce and used medicinally for countless things. All parts of the tree are highly aromatic.
Cloves are an ancient spice and, because of their exceptional aromatic strength, have always been held in high esteem by cooks in Europe, Northern Africa and Asia. The tree is endemic in the North Moluccas (Indonesia). After the end of the Dutch monopoly (18th century), clove trees were introduced to other countries for cultivation. The first recorded use of cloves is by the Chinese in the 1st century B.C. In China. They were not only used for cooking but also for deodorization. During the Han dynasty (207 B. C. to 220 A. D.) those who addressed the Chinese emperor were required to hold cloves in their mouths to mask bad breath. The active ingredient, Eugenol, is still used to flavor the tooth paste. Arab traders brought cloves to Europe in the time of the Romans. At that time cloves were still very expensive. Clove first arrived in Europe around the 4th century A.D. as a highly coveted luxury.
The most important production area today is the island of Pemba near Zanzibar in Tanzania. The whole island of Pemba is covered with clove gardens, and it is reported that the island can be smelled on any ship approaching it.
In Europe cloves are used for special types of sweets or sweet breads, and for stewed fruits. Plain rice is often flavored by one or two cloves. In France, cloves often go into meat stews or broths. In England, they are most popular in pickles. Indonesians are the main consumers of cloves and use up nearly 50 percent of the world's production, not for cooking but rather for smoking. Cigarettes flavored with cloves (kretek) are extremely popular and nearly every Indonesian enjoys them. Their sweet, incense-like aroma pervades Indonesian restaurants, buses, markets and offices.
Clove is much used in perfumes, liqueurs, and love potions. It has antiseptic properties and was used in the prevention of contagious diseases, such as the Plaque. Traditional Chinese physicians have long used the plant to treat almost everything. India's traditional Ayurvedic healers have used clove since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments. The medieval German herbalists used cloves as part of anti-gout mixture. Contemporary herbalists recommend clove for digestive complaints and its oil for toothache. However, clove oil shouldn't be used in massaging or in baths, it may irritate the skin.
Clove is an ultra-tropical small size tree which will not survive temperatures below 50F. It requires a humid, warm tropical climate with lots of water year-round. It can be grown in greenhouse outside of tropics. Indoor cultivation is problematic mostly because of lack of air humidity that this plant needs for successful growth.
The species formerly known as Eugenia australis is now regarded as two separate species, Syzygium australe and Syzygium paniculatum.
The leaf aroma is a similar to cinnamon.
Berry purple reaching 2cm diameter.
Native to India, Nepal, Pakistan and Indonesia, this tree was introduced to Florida, USA in 1911. Now also grows abundantly in Suriname and has been introduced to many different places where it has been utilized as a fruit producer, as an ornamental and also for its timber (the wood is strong and water resistant). In favorable conditions, this plant has the ability to form a dense cover, excluding all other species which has allowed it to become invasive in Hawaii.
According to Hindu tradition, Rama subsisted on the fruit in the forest for 14 years during his exile from Ayodhya. Because of this, many Hindus regard Jambul as a 'fruit of the gods'. In Hindu mythology Lord Krishna has been described as having skin the color of Jambul. The leaves are used in India as marriage pendals.
A fairly fast growing species, in native conditions it can reach heights of up to 80ft and can live more than 100 years. Its dense foliage provides shade and is grown just for its ornamental value. Large oblong leaves are smooth, glossy, with a turpentine smell.
The tree starts flowering from March to April. The small flowers in branched clusters are fragrant. The fruit develops by May-June and resembles a large berry, starting green, then turns pink to shining crimson black as it matures. The flesh has a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringent flavor and tends to color the tongue purple. The fruit is eaten raw, and may be made into tarts, sauces and jams. Good quality Jambul juice is excellent for sherbet, sirup and "squash", an Indian drink. In Goa and the Philippines, it is an important source of wine, somewhat like Port, and the distilled liquors, brandy and "jambava" have also been made from the fermented fruit. The juice can also be made into Vinegar. The Jambul tree is of real value in apiculture. The flowers have abundant nectar, and the honey is of fine quality. The essential oil distilled from the leaves is used to scent soap and is blended with other materials in making inexpensive perfume.
The fruit has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C, and has received recognition in folk medicine and in the pharmaceutical trade. The seeds, leaves and bark are also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.
The tree occurs in the tropical and sub-tropical climates under a wide range of environmental conditions and can thrive on a variety of soils. Jambul grows easy in sub-tropics and tolerates cooler winters. It is sensitive to frost when young but mature trees have been undamaged by brief below-freezing temperatures. It prospers on river banks and has been known to withstand prolonged flooding, yet it is tolerant of drought as well. Dry weather is even more desirable during the flowering and fruiting periods. The seedlings starts fruiting in 4-7 years.
The edible fruit is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use.
Rose Apple is a popular fruit native to Southeast Asia. The beautiful blossoms contain hundreds of showy stamens. The crisp and juicy fruits are very distinctly rose scented and highly prized for jellies and confections. The plant is easy to grow, moderately cold hardy and tolerates poor soils. Makes an attractive, wide-spreading shade tree as well as compact and bushy container fruiting plant.
See our video about Rose Apple.
Ornamental tree for shelter and shade. The dense nature of the foliage makes it suitable for hedging and topiary. The small glossy leaves are deep green with new growth red or bright pink. Use the tasty fruit for jams.
Native to Malaysia, Malay Apple was an important fruit of the Polynesians, and was later distributed to the America's on Captain Bligh's voyages throughout the tropics, including many Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Suriname, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago. It has been also spread through much of southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, now common growing wild on the Hawaiian islands. It was brought into Hawaii by Polynesians probably 1000 to 1700 years ago. The Polynesians reached the Hawaiian islands bringing plants and animals that were important to them, and Mountain apple, as it is called in Hawaii, was one of the 'canoe plants'.
This plant grows to over 60 ft in tropics in mid-elevation rain forest areas, often as large understory tree. The evergreen leaves are opposite, soft leathery and dark green; the flowers are purplish-red and form a carpet after falling under the tree. Flowering usually occurs in early summer followed by fruit ripening 3 months later. The beautiful pear shaped fruit is about the size of an apple, deep red in color, white flesh and a waxy skin. The flesh is crunchy, often juicy, with a mild sweet flavor.
Fruit are mostly eaten fresh and chilled and make great thirst quenching snacks. The fruit can also be used to make wines. The plant has important medicinal value in many tropical countries.
Malay Apple requires tropical conditions and is too tender to grow outdoors in areas with even occasional frost. Often trees will have leaf damage at temperatures well above freezing. Trees also do not like poorly drained soils, so if planted in areas with high water tables should be planted on slightly raised mounds to give them more room for the roots during periods of high rainfall. It does not succeed as well at sea level. Other than that, it requires little care providing year-round water.