The cardamom plant is a large evergreen perennial. It grows to a height of 2-5 meters and has thick, fleshy rhizomes and erect stems.
The long, lanceolate leaves are dark green above and pale beneath with a downy surface. The small flowers are white with pink to violet stripes and arranged in loose spikes.
The pale green to beige fruit pods contain highly aromatic seeds.
The plant originates from Southern India and Sri Lanka, where it grows abundantly in the rich forests. Today it's cultivated mainly in India, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Tanzania and Vietnam.
The spice known as cardamom comes from the dried seed pod, and it's one of the most valued spices in the world - also known as Queen of Spices or Grains of Paradise.
More than 50% of the world production is being exported to the Arab countries where cardamom is an essential ingredient to their coffee.
The green cardamom is considered the best and comes from Kerala i Southern India. It's significantly superior to other cardamoms in fragrance.
Cardamom is used to flavour meat and rice dishes, cakes, pastries, cookies, coffee, tea, curries, pickles, desserts, schnapps, liqueurs, and mulled wine.
The essential oils from the seeds are used in herbal remedies and dietary supplements, in the preparation of liqueurs, and in the perfume industry.