Scientific Classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Unranked Angiosperms
Unranked Eudicots
Order Myrtales
Family Myrtaceae
Genus Eugenia
Species E.caryophyllis
Binomial name Eugenia caryophyllis

Other Common Names:

The other common name for clove is lavang.


The word clove comes from the Latin word clavus, meaning nail, since the shaft and head of the clove bud resembles a nail. Cloves and clove oil were reportedly used in Chinese medicine as early as 600 AD. Cloves have long been a part of various folk medicine traditions around the world. However, its value as a flavour has declined considerably since the time of Magellan. It should be remembered that Magellan's fateful circumnavigation of the world (1519-1522) started off with five ships and over 250 men.

Although only one ship and 18 men returned to Spain, nevertheless its cargo of about 50 tons of cloves and nutmeg were considered to have made the expedition a financial success. Cloves and nutmeg were among the most precious of items of Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries, and they were worth more than their weight in gold. Historically both cloves and the oil have been considered stimulant, aromatic, and carminative.


Morphologically, the clove tree has a pyramidal shape. It is a pretty and broad leaved evergreen plant growing only in tropical climes. The clove tree when fully grown can often go up to thirty or forty feet in height. The characteristic strong aromatic fragrance produced by the living tree is mainly from as a result of the glands dotting the smooth and shiny leaves. The leaves are large, entire, oblong, lanceolate (always bright green colour), which stand in pairs on short foot-stalks, when bruised very fragrant.

Flowers grow in bunches at end of branches. At the start of the rainy season long greenish buds appear; from the extremity of these the corolla comes which is of a lovely rosy peach colour; as the corolla fades the calyx turns yellow, then red. The calyces, with the embryo seed, are at this stage beaten from the tree and when dried are the cloves of commerce. The flowers have a strong refreshing odour. If the seeds are allowed to mature, most of the pungency is lost. Each berry has only one seed. The trees fruit usually about eight or nine years after planting. The whole tree is highly aromatic.


The clove is an indigenous plant species of the former Spice Islands - the Molucca Islands, which are now in Indonesia as well as the southern parts of the Philippines islands. Thus it is generally seen in Molucca and Pemba, but can also be seen in the East and West Indies, Sumatra, Jamaica, Mauritius and Brazil.


Cloves tree is generally seen in mountains and high mountain steppes, often on stony or rocky slopes, especially along river valleys. The plant prefers light sandy, medium loamy and heavy clay soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic alkaline soils.


Semi-ripe cutting of the plant are used in the summer to propagate the plant, while seeds are used in the spring to propagate the tree. The young floral buds are plucked and harvested for sun drying and processing two times every year in most plantations. Seeds are sown in spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Parts Used


The dried flower buds are used for medicinal and culinary purposes and an essential oil is also distilled.

Flowering Season

The flowers, when allowed to develop, are peach colored or red and white, and bell-shaped, and grow in terminal clusters and are in bloom in June.

Pests and Diseases

The major pest is thrips, which are found beneath the leaves and between the leaf base and stem. The major pest is thrips, which are found beneath the leaves and between the leaf base and stem. The most common disease is downy mildew affecting the leaves. A permit is available to control this with the active ingredient phosphorous acid. Plants may also be damaged by ashy stem blight.

Medicinal Applications


• Clove oil may relieve gum and tooth pain and may be useful as a topical antiseptic in mouthwash.

• Taken internally, cloves and clove oil relieve nausea and vomiting, improve digestion, fight intestinal parasites, stimulate uterine contractions, ease arthritis inflammation, stop migraine headaches, and ease symptoms of colds and allergies.

• It is powerful for treating a broad spectrum of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, including athlete's foot and toenail fungus.

• Hiccups and impotence are also treated with cloves.

• It is an excellent treatment for nausea, flatulence, indigestion and dyspepsia.

• Clove oil is also used in aromatherapy.

• Cloves are also used as an ingredient in baking and cooking, and in perfumes, cigarettes, mouthwash, and toothpaste.

• Clove is known to be a germicide, an antiseptic, and an expectorant used to treat bronchial ailments.

• It is also used in treating other medical sickness like strep throat, stomach cancer and altitude sickness.

Commercial Applications


• It is used to flavour meats, including ham, and is incorporated in Indian curries and rice dishes such as vindaloo; it is used in pickles and sauces and some European spice cakes.

• Cloves have a potent odor and is a very good insecticide, repelling both mosquitoes and other insects such as moths.

• Its essence is commonly used in the production of many perfumes.


According to the astro reports the spice clove is under the dominion of the planet Uranus.

Folklores and Myths

In the Moluccas, a natural insect repellent is traditionally made by studding the skin of oranges with cloves; this is kept in different areas of the house to ward off insects. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used cloves. Courtiers in second century China freshened their breath with cloves before seeking an audience with the Emperor. Cloves are used as a cooking spice as well as in several highly reputed magical spells. An old-time friendship Charm is made by filling two small cloth bags with 7 cloves each and hanging them on thin cotton cords as necklaces. If two people wear these until the cords break, they will remain good friends the rest of their lives.

Many folks burn a red candle studded with whole cloves to stop slander, malicious gossip, and lies against themselves. Cloves are also said to bring in money luck when burned on charcoal. Those who like to make a money drawing bag may place in it five finer grass, cinnamon, Irish moss and Cloves of which the last 3 items of which are ingredients in lady luck Oil, which is popular with dice-players. During Christmas, it is a tradition in some European countries to make a pomander from cloves and oranges to hang around the house. This spreads a nice scent throughout the house and the oranges themselves act as Christmas decorations.