We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


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

Common Name Clove, Zanzibar Redhead
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 11-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Maritime forests in deep, well-drained sandy, acid loams with a pH as low as 4.5[200 ].
Range E. Asia - Malaysia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Syzygium aromaticum Clove, Zanzibar Redhead

Syzygium aromaticum Clove, Zanzibar Redhead


Translate this page:


Clove, Syzygium aromaticum, is a tropical and evergreen tree growing up to 20 m in height and 30 cm in trunk diameter. It has clusters of bright red flowers located on the ends of branches. The bark is gray. The leaves are large, reddish when young and turn dark green upon maturity. The fruits are oblong, red, and fleshy, containing one or two seeds. Cloves contain essential oil which is used medicinally against pain, nausea, vomiting, internal parasites, chills, headache, toothache, colds, arthritis, rheumatism, and impotence. The flower buds are chewed as breath freshener or as relief from toothache. Further, flower buds are edible, usually dried and used as spies. The essential oil, on the other hand, can also be used as food flavoring. Plants can be grown from fresh seed then transplanted 15 months after sowing.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Syzygium aromaticum is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Caryophyllus aromaticus L. Eugenia aromatica (L.) Baill. Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb. Eugenia caryop

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Oil
Edible Uses: Condiment  Oil  Tea

Flower buds - dried and used as a spice in a variety of foods such as cakes, baked apples and mincemeat[301 , 303 ]. The buds are sometimes chewed after meals[301 ]. An essential oil obtained from the plant is used as a flavouring in a wide range of foods such as bakery products, chewing gums, ice cream, sauces and candies[301 ]. Fruit pulp[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiarthritic  Antiasthmatic  Antibilious  Antirheumatic  Antiseptic  Digestive  Odontalgic  Parasiticide  
Skin  Skin  Stimulant  Stomachic

Cloves, and the essential oil contained in them, are often used medicinally[238 ]. A spicy, warming, stimulant herb, it is strongly antiseptic, relieves pain, controls nausea and vomiting, improves digestion, protects against intestinal parasites, and causes uterine contractions[238 ]. Cloves are taken internally as a tea in the treatment of internal parasites, stomach upsets, chills and impotence[238 , 303 ]. The flower buds are chewed to freshen the breath or ease the pain of toothache[303 ]. The essential oil is applied externally in the treatment of toothache, headache, cold, arthritis and rheumatism[238 , 303 ]. It is also useful for treating ulcers, bruises, burns, bronchitis, asthma, minor infections and colic. It is sometimes used to ease nausea[303 ] Two little-known compounds in clove oil have shown 'strong activity' against bacteria associated with plaque formation and gum disease[303 ]. Clove oil is very potent and can cause gum irritation, it is advisable to dilute it with equal amounts of vegetable oil. For infants an even milder dilution is required. Use should be avoided during pregnancy, or if with sensitive skin[303 ]. An infusion of the shoots and the unopened, dried flower buds (cloves) is used for an excitant[348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Cosmetic  Essential  Insecticide  Oil  Parasiticide  Pot-pourri  Teeth

Other Uses: Clove oil is extracted by water distillation and mixes well with cinnamon, cedar, lavender, rose and bergamot. Essential oil content in good quality cloves may exceed 15%. The oil is dominated by eugenol (70-85%), eugenol acetate (15%) and beta-caryophyllene (5-12%). Cloves contain about 2% of the triterpene oleanolic acid[303 ]. It is used in perfumery, as a flavouring and medicinally[238 ]. The cloves are used in potpourris and pomanders[238 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Cloves thrive in lowland humid tropical areas where the temperature is fairly steady, growing best in an island setting at elevations below 300 metres[200 ]. Notions about the ecological requirements of the clove vary, perhaps because of an underlying dilemma: a climate with a marked dry season promotes flowering, but the tree does not cope at all well with stress[303 ]. There are two ways out of this dilemma. The first is to choose a climate with a pronounced dry season, but to limit stress by going for deep fertile soils, providing water and shade during the early years[303 ]. The other way is to choose a wet climate with a short dry season[303 ]. The best quality cloves for use as a spice are grown in the wetter climates where annual rainfall is in excess of 1,500mm and usually in the range 3,000 - 4,000mm[303 ]. Requires a light, well-drained soil, requiring some shade, especially when young[200 ]. Growth can be sustained on poor and acid soils, but waterlogging is very harmful[303 ]. Requires shelter from the wind[303 ]. The clove tree is monoecious, flowers are hermaphrodite and self-pollinating. The tree matures between 8-10 years after planting[303 ]. Clove trees live for more than 100 years, the oldest tree recorded is aged 375 years in Indonesia[303 ]. Generally, it takes 20-30 years for clove to attain full bearing[303 ]. Bloom Color: White/Near White(orange, yellow).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - the seed has a short viability of about 2 weeks so should be sown as soon as it is ripe in shady nursery beds, placing the seeds about 25mm deep in the soil[303 ]. About 70% of the seeds germinate, usually after 1 - 6 weeks[303 ]. Plant out when they are about 25cm tall[303 ]. Cuttings of terminal leafy softwood, kept in a frame at high humidity until they have rooted[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bungah cengkeh, Chengkeh, Chingkeh, Choji, Cingkeh, Clavo, Cravo, Ding xiang, Garofano, Gewurznelke, Giroffe, Giroflier, Gvozdika, Kaan ploo, Karabu, Karayampu, Kirambu, Klam pu, Krambu, Kruidnagel, Laung, Lavang, Lavanga, Lavangamuchettu, Lavangamulu, Ley-nyin-bwint, Mkarafuu, Qaranful, Ting hsiang, añcukam, benefundi, bunga cengkeh, caryophylli aetheroleum, caryophylli floris aetheroleum, caryophylli flos, caryophylli flos pulveratus, caryophylli fructus, cavo-aromático, chiodi di garofano, chiodi garofano, choji, choko, chouji, choukou, clavero, clavero giroflé, clavo de olor, clavo, aceite esencial, clavo, aceite esencial de, clavos, clou de girofle, clou de girofle (huile essentielle de), clous de girofle, clove, clove bud, clove bud oil, clove flower bud, clove fruit, clove leaf, clove leaf oil, clove oil, clove stem, clove stem oil, clove tree, clove-tree, cloves, cloves, whole and ground (powdered), clovetree, clove|karambu neti / lamanga, colve, cravo da índia, cravo-da-índia, cravo-das-molucas, cravo-de-doce, cravo-do-reino, cocam, devakusuman, devapuspa, devapu?pa, ding huong, ding xiang, dingxiang, etericno olje cveta dišecega klincevca, eugenia caryophyllata, feuille de giroflier, flores caryophylli, flos caryophylli, fructus caryophylli, garofano essenza, gewürznelke, gewürznelken, gewürznelkenbaum, girofle, giroflier, glove, grampu, griffe de giroflier, gurunful, harilik negipuu, ilava?kam (flower bud), kaan phluu, kaan pluu, kade, kanumfari, karafwu, karampu, karanfal, karanho, karayampoovu, karayanpu, kau-phlu, kirambu, kirambum, kirampu, klincekovcová silica, konofuru, koronfol, krambu, kruidnagelolie, krustnaglinu [naglinkoka ziedu] eteriska ella, kryddnejlika, kryddnejlika, blomma, kyddernellikolje, labanga, lan, lauang, laung, lavang, lavanga, lavangaha, lavangalu, lavangam, lavangamuchettu, lavangamulu, lava?ga (flower bud), laving, lawang, long, mudingxiang, neilikkaöljy, nelgiõli, nelkenöl, nellikeolie, nägelein, oil of clove leaves, olejek eteryczny gozdzikowy, oleum caryophylli, osaragbogo-eze, powdered clove, qaranfal, qaranful, qarnful, qenefil, qerenfil, qoranful, qronfel, quranful, rumân, rung, silice hrebíckovcového kvetu, syzygii flos, szegfüszeg, szegfuszegolaj, tira?i, ud-nuwwar, ulei volatil de cuisoare, vara?kam, árbol del clavo, óleo essencial de cravinho.

aromaticum, Africa, Andamans, Asia, Australia, Burma, Cambodia, Central America, China, East Africa, East Timor, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Reunion, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, USA, West Africa, West Indies.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Syzygium australeBrush CherryShrub3.0 6-12  LMHSNM403
Syzygium cuminiJambolan, Java Plum, Malabar Plum, JambuShrub25.0 8-12 FLMHSNMWe334
Syzygium jambosJambos, Rose Apple, Plum RoseTree8.0 9-12 MLMHSNMWe324
Syzygium paniculatumBrush CherryShrub5.0 9-11  LMHSNM102

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(L.) Merr. & L.M.Perry

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Syzygium aromaticum  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.