This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Pimenta Dioica (Allspice Tree) is familiar to many cooks; the spice is so-named because it describes the combination of cinnamon , nutmeg and cloves. It is a medium-size tree that can reach 40 feet in height, with a dense crown of ascending branches and a columnar to irregular shape. Also, the bark is pale brown, peeling off in strips to reveal pink and ochre underbark.
In addition, leaves are dark green, leathery, simple, opposite, entire, oblong-elliptical, 2 – 8 inches long and aromatic. Flowers are small, whitish, borne in clusters from leaf axils; blooms are about 1/4 inch across and aromatic. And the fruit is a brown berry about 1/4 inch long, slightly larger than a peppercorn, containing 2 seeds; which are are for propagation.
For spice use, they pick fruits still green but mature and dry. Pimenta Dioica (Allspice Tree) is a tree crop in the American tropics. It requires cultivation of both male and female trees to provide fruit. Constituents in the leaves and fruits are used in traditional and modern medicine, perfume and food and beverage flavoring. Allspice is a forest tree and its seedlings need shade protection; once mature it can tolerate full sun. In cultivation, allspice grows well in neutral light to moderate textured soils with good drainage.
As an ornamental, it is perfect for backyards, as street tree, on promenades, as a specimen tree and can help lightly screen and define a special area. Allspice is one of the best aromatic trees, it is related to and resembles bay rum, Pimenta Racemosa.