You'll love the attractive foliage and wonderful fragrance.
An evergreen native to Southeast Asia, the cinnamon tree has since been cultivated in many other regions. In fact, it's just recently been introduced to Hawaii and is spreading naturally in some areas, namely the Pali area on Oahu.
There are over 300 varieties in the cinnamon tree family, one of the most well-known being Cinnamomun zeylancium, or Ceylon cinnamon. The oblong-shaped leaves emerge a lovely pinkish shade, turning to a shiny, leathery green at maturity. They grow to a length of 2-7 inches and adorn themselves with charming, small, star-shaped, creamy-white flowers that eventually turn a reddish color. These are followed by oval, dark-purple fruits. Both the leaves and the golden-red bark carry the characteristic cinnamon smell. The spice itself comes from the bark of the tree.
It's naturally a tropical or subtropical tree, but will survive short frosts and temperatures to 32? F, although it should be protected from hard frosts and long periods of cool weather.
Ceylon cinnamon is often planted as an ornamental tree because of the attractiveness of both its new and mature foliage. But of course, it has a lot more to offer than just beauty. Cinnamon leaf oil has a warm, spicy, clove-like scent that blends well with any oil from the citrus family as well as other spice oils, particularly clove, and is lovely with lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Although it's non-toxic, it can cause some sensitivity, especially with mucous membranes and should be avoided during pregnancy.
The history of cinnamon is long and very interesting. Appearing several times in the Old Testament, it was more precious than gold and was considered a kingly gift, used in perfumes and skin oils. The Egyptians exported it from China c. 2000 B.C., using it as both a beverage flavoring and an embalming agent. And in the first century A.D., the Roman emperor, Nero, burned a year's supply of cinnamon on his wife?s grave to show how great a loss he had endured. Indeed, the value of cinnamon was so great that when the Portuguese invaded Sri Lanka in the 1500's they aggressively protected their stores of cinnamon by way of forts built on the shores of the island.
So bring a bit of history into your own backyard, and enjoy the many wonders of cinnamon!
|Item Form||6-inch Pot|
|Zone||9 - 11|
|Plant Height||32 ft - 49 ft|
|Additional Characteristics||Edible, Flower|
|Foliage Color||Brown, Medium Green|
|Light Requirements||Part Shade|
|Uses||Containers, Cuisine, Foliage Interest, Ornamental, Specimen|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|