The clove plant is a small, bushy, evergreen tree with ascending branches and shiny, dark green, leathery and aromatic leaves.
The beautiful, fragrant flowers are beige turning to red, when the stamens wither. The berries are purple in colour and very aromatic.
The spice known as clove is the flower bud, that's collected just before it opens and then sun-dried.
The clove tree is native to the Moluccas - also known as The Spice Islands - and that's where the finest cloves come from.
Today it's also grown in Tanzania, Madagascar, Brazil, and Sri Lanka. Main exporters are Tanzania and Madagascar.
Whole or ground cloves are used for culinary purposes and in the making of flavoured schnapps and liqueurs, such as the French Benedictine.
The large amounts of essential oils from flower buds and leaves are used in various dietary supplements and herbal remedies, in dentistry and as flavourings in perfumes, beverages, tooth pastes, and Indonesian cigarettes.