Title: Clove
Additional Names: Caryophyllus
Literature References: Evergreen tree, Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. et Perry, also known as Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb. and Caryophyllus aromaticus L., Myrtaceae. Habit. Southeast Asia; cultivated in tropical regions worldwide. Parts used are the dried buds (cloves) and the essential oil produced from them. Constit. 15-21% volatile oil, sterols, e.g. sitosterol, ~6% protein, ~61% carbohydrate, ~20% lipids. Review: A. Y. Leung, Encylopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1980) pp 130-132.
Derivative Type: Clove oil
Additional Names: Oil of clove
Literature References: Volatile oil from dried flower buds. Constit. 60-90% eugenol, 2-27% eugenyl acetate, 5-12% b-caryophyllene, minor constituents such as methyl amyl ketone, methyl salicylate, benzaldehyde. Extraction procedures: A. A. Clifford et al., J. Anal. Chem. 364, 635 (1999).
Properties: Colorless to pale yellow liq, becoming darker and thicker with age. d2525 1.038-1.060. nD20 1.530. Insol in water. Sol in 2 vols 70% alcohol. Keep well closed, cool and protected from light.
Index of refraction: nD20 1.530
Density: d2525 1.038-1.060
Use: Flavoring agent in foods; fragrance component in dentifrices, soaps, lotions, perfumes; commercial source of eugenol. Pharmaceutic aid (flavor).
Therap-Cat: Carminative, counterirritant. Clove oil as analgesic (dental).
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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Syzygium
Species: S. aromaticum
Binomial name
Syzygium aromaticum
(L.) Merrill & Perry
  • Caryophyllus aromaticus L.
  • Eugenia aromatica (L.) Baill.
  • Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb.
  • Eugenia caryophyllus (Spreng.) Bullock & S. G. Harrison

Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, and are commonly used as a spice. Cloves are commercially harvested primarily in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka—and the largest producer, Pemba Island, just off the coast of Tanzania.

The clove tree is an evergreen that grows up to 8–12 m tall, with large leaves and sanguine flowers grouped in terminal clusters. The flower buds initially have a pale hue, gradually turn green, then transition to a bright red when ready for harvest. Cloves are harvested at 1.5–2.0 cm long, and consist of a long calyx that terminates in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals that form a small central ball.