Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)

external image Clove-Bud.jpg
Botanical Information

Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllata also known as: Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia
aromaticum) are the dried flower buds of a tree in the Myrtaceae family.
Cloves are native to India as well as Indonesia and are used as a spice
in cuisine around all parts of the world. The English name derives from
Latin clavus 'nail' because the buds resemble small irregular nails in shape.(3)


Plantae-- Plants
Tracheobionta-- Vascular plants
Spermatophyta-- Seed plants
Magnoliophyta-- Flowering plants
Magnoliopsida-- Dicotyledons
Myrtaceae Myrtle Family
Syzygium P. Br. ex Clove . – syzygium
Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry – clove

Myrtaceae Family

The Myrtaceae is a family of at least 133 genera and .3800 species. It has centers of
diversity in Australia, southeast Asia, and tropical to southern temperate America, but
has little to no representation in Africa. The family is distinguished by a combination
of the following features: entire leaves containing oil glands, ovary half inferior to inferior,
stamens usually numerous, internal phloem, and vestured pits on the xylem vessels. (4)

The Myrtaceae is commonly subdivided into two subfamilies, the Leptospermoideae, which is
distributed mostly in Asia and Africa, and the Myrtoideae, found in tropical America, Asia,
Australia, and the Pacific. The myrtle family is best known from Australia. Many species
in the genera Eucalyptus, Calliostemon, and Verticordia, among others, are found in
Australia. However, many genera such as Psidium are present in the Americas, and
Myrtus of the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. The genus Eucalyptus is probably the
best known representative of the Myrtaceae.(5)

Eucalyptus Tree
external image Rainbow-and-an-Eucalyptus-Tree_MG_4433.jpg

Habit and leaf form
Trees and shrubs
Evergreen (nearly always), or deciduous (e.g. some Eucalyptus species)
Leaf anatomy
Mucilaginous epidermis present, or absent. Stomata mainly confined to one surface, or on both surfaces (commonly, in edgewise-orientated leaves); anomocytic (usually), or paracytic.
Stem anatomy
Cork cambium present; initially deep-seated, or superficial. Nodes ‘typically’ unilacunar. Primary vascular tissue commonly bicollateral.
Reproductive type, pollination
Plants hermaphrodite (usually), or polygamomonoecious, or androdioecious (rarely). Pollination entomophilous, or ornithophilous

Germination phanerocotylar, or cryptocotylar.
Cymes, in spikes, in corymbs, and in panicles, or in heads

Worldwide Distribution Map

external image 800px-2005clove.PNG

History, Trade, and Use

As early as 200 BC, envoys from Java to the Han-dynasty court of
China brought cloves that were customarily used to freshen the breath
during meetings with the emperor. In the late Middle Ages, cloves were
used in Europe to preserve, flavor, as well as garnish food. The cultivation
of this spice has been primarily exclusive to Indonesia, and in the early 17th
century the Dutch eliminated the plant on all islands except Amboina and
Ternate in order to “create scarcity and sustain high prices.” This was the
plan instituted by the Dutch government to control their monopoly of the valuable
spice. They went on to destroy any clove tree that grew on any other island
in the Moluccas. It is estimated that close to 60,000 native islanders were killed
during the destruction of clove plantations. (Insert Book) However, in 1770 the
French were able to steal some clove seeds and cultivate the plant in French
colonies. (Insert Book) Today, the popular spice is used to compliment other
commodities such as cigarettes, desserts, beverages, meats, pickling, sauces,
and gravies. The extracted clove oil has been used in medicines, disinfectants,
mouthwash, toothpaste, soaps, and perfumes. (Insert book)

external image NCI_clove_ham.jpgexternal image clove2.jpg

external image Fig-38-Clove-Eugenia-caryophyllata.jpg


A, clove cut vertically, showing calyx, corolla, stamens, pistil, and ovules; near the margin oil-glands; magnified.
B, fruit (mother clove), natural size.
C, the same, cut vertically and magnified.
D, embryo, natural size. (Luerssen).

An unusual and taxonomically useful trait found in the Myrtaceae involves the vascular system of
the stem. In most dicotyledonous plants the food conducting cells of the vascular system, the
sieve elements of the phloem, surround the water conducting cells, or xylem. In young stems
there is usually another group of large cells that appear open in sections viewed under a light microscope. (5)

Other Notable References

1.) Leventin, Estelle and Karen McMahon. Plants and Society Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, NY 2008.