Caryophyllus pimenta (L.) Mill.
Eugenia micrantha Bertol.
Eugenia pimenta (L.) DC.
Evanesca crassifolia Raf.
Myrtus aromatica Poir.
Myrtus aromatica Salisb.
Myrtus dioica L.
Myrtus pimenta L.
Myrtus piperita Sessé & Moc.
Pimenta aromatica Kostel.
Pimenta communis Benth. & Hook.f.
Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pimenta pimenta (L.) H.Karst.
Pimenta vulgaris Bello
Pimenta vulgaris Lindl.
Pimentus aromatica Raf.
Pimentus geminata Raf.
Pimentus vera Raf.
Common Name: Allspice
Allspice is an aromatic, evergreen, profusely-branched tree that usually grows 7 - 10 metres tall but occasionally reaches 20 metres. The bole can be up to 30cm in diameter[
The tree was used as a spice in the Caribbean before the arrival of the Europeans[
]. It has become a popular spice in many areas of the world and is now often cultivated in the American tropics, especially in Jamaica, and occasionally elsewhere[
C. America - Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico; Caribbean - Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba.
]. Humid lowland woodland and savannahs[
]. Common in moist or wet climax forest, usually on limestone, at elevations up to 350 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the moist to wet lowland tropics, growing best at elevations below 330 metres but able to be grown up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 32°c, but can tolerate 10 - 35°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 3,500mm[
Prefers a rich, well-drained sandy soil in a sunny position[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 7 - 7.5, tolerating 6.3 - 8[
A slow-growing plant, it takes 20 years to flower from seed[
]. Trees may come into bearing in 5 - 10 years, but require 20 - 25 years for full harvest to be achieved[
]. They have an economical life of about 50 years[
Young trees 10 - 15 years old may yield 23 - 60 kilos of green pimento berries in a good year, but fail to crop in a bad year[
]. Average yield is about 5 kilos per tree[
Plants can be harvested every third year[
The berries and leaves are usually not harvested from the same tree[
The forms from the West Indies have smaller fruits that contain more than twice as much essential oil as forms from Central America[
The dried fruits are used as a flavouring in a wide range of foods[
]. They are said to combine the aroma and flavour of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon[
]. They are used in pickles, sauces, ketchup, soups, ice cream etc[
]. They are an important component of pimento dram, a Jamaican drink made with rum, and of liqueurs like Benedictine and Chartreuse[
Leaves - used as a condiment or steeped to make a tea[
An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used to flavour a wide range of foods, including baked goods, candy and chewing gum[
Allspice berries contain about 4% essential oils (of which about 80% is eugenol), proteins, lipids, the vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, plus minerals[
]. It is a pungent, warming, aromatic herb with a clove-like aroma[
]. It improves the digestion, has a tonic effect upon the nervous system and is locally antiseptic and anaesthetic[
It is used internally in the treatment of indigestion, wind, diarrhoea and nervous exhaustion[
]. Allspice is often combined with herbs that have a tonic or laxative effect[
Externally, it is used to treat chest infections, muscular aches and pains[
The essential oil is carminative and antioxidant[
]. The essential oil is used to ease the pain of toothache[
The powdered berries are added to other medicines in order to disguise unpleasant flavours[
An essential oil obtained from the leaves, called pimento leaf oil, is used in perfumery, especially in oriental fragrances and after-shave lotions[
The heartwood is reddish brown, the sapwood of a lighter colour[
]. The wood is of medium lustre, tough and close grained, very hard and heavy, fine-textured; and finishes very smoothly[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood.