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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.
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.
Tabernaemontana africana (Samoan Gardenia) is a tropical shrub that grows best in warm regions with temperatures above 55°F and prefers partial shade, but can tolerate full sun in the right conditions.
The intoxicating sweet fragrant creamy white blossoms are pinwheel shaped .The plant blooms almost all year and has a wonderful spicy fragrance that carries a good distance both day and night, unlike many other white blooming plants, which are only fragrant at night. Blooming can be heavy or light depending on the bloom cycle. Flowers with 5 petals average 4 inches across and stand out nicely against the dark-green foliage
Provide the shrub with a regular watering schedule and be careful not to let the soil remain too wet. The shrub is popular with local wildlife, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. When caring for your Samoan Gardenia, annual pruning and fertilization will keep the plant looking healthy and encourage blooming. Take care not to over-fertilize to avoid burning the foliage. In colder climates, Samoan Gardenia can be grown in a container indoors when temperatures drop below 50F, or moved to a sheltered patio for the winter. Make sure to provide the plant with bright light and direct sun, as well as regular watering to replicate the tropical environment.
This species very often mis-called as Tabernaemontana holstii , but according to taxonomic revision of Dr. Leeuwenberger (1988), Tabernaemontana holstii is actually a synonym of Tabernaemontana pachysiphon, close related species with larger leaves.
Curious, bat-like inflorescence both in shape and color, with wide spreading, wing-like bracts of rich maroon-black, accompanied by long trailing filaments or "whiskers". The small black flowers are succeeded by heavy berries, corrugated olive-green leaves with oblique base. These are interesting, evergreen, perennial and herbaceous plants that grow wild in many tropical climates. They can be grown in humid, tropical greenhouses. See page about Tacca.
Curious, bat-like maroon-black inflorescence both in shape and color, with wide spreading, wing-like white bracts, accompanied by long trailing filaments or "whiskers". The small black flowers are succeeded by heavy berries, corrugated olive-green leaves with oblique base. These are interesting, evergreen, perennial and herbaceous plants that grow wild in many tropical climates. They can be grown in humid, tropical greenhouses. See page about Tacca.