Syzygium aromaticum  (L.) Merr. & L. M. Perry Cloves  - Myrtaceae

The cloves  we commonly use in cooking are the unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree, Syzygium aromaticum, indigenous to the Moluccas (Spice Islands).  They are now grown in many tropical countries that receive 90-100 inches (225 cm) of rainfall annually.  The word clove comes from the French clou meaning nail. 

Before the time of Christ it was mandatory for court officials in China to sweeten their breath with cloves before addressing their sovereign.  By the 4th century cloves were well known in Europe.  From the 8th century they were one of the principal Oriental spices exported to Europe.

Believed to have strong aphrodisiac properties, necklaces made of cloves  are commonly worn in several strands as chokers by the women of Morocco.  In Mali clove necklaces are generally worn by women for 40 days after giving birth.15

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