Q: Can we grow the sweet clove here?
A: Clove tree, Carophyllus aromaticus, is a small evergreen tree. The pink-peach colored flowers appear at the beginning of the rainy season and grow in bunches at end of branches. The calyces, with the embryo seed, are beaten from the tree and when dried form the cloves sold in markets. Calyces are actually the sepals of a flower. They enclose the petals and form a protective layer around a flower in bud. The flowers have a strong refreshing odor. If the seeds are allowed to mature, most of the pungency is lost. Each berry has only one seed. It takes about 8-9 years after planting before the tree produces any fruit. The whole tree is highly aromatic – including the bark. The spice was introduced into Europe from the fourth to the sixth century. The finest cloves come from Molucca and Pemba, where the trees grow better than anywhere else, but they are also imported from the East and West Indies, Mauritius and Brazil. We do not have similar climates to these areas so I suspect the plant would not be productive here.