Pimenta dioica

Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr.

Family       : caesalpinioideae

Common Name : സർവസുഗന്ധി (Mal)

             Pimento Tree (Eng)


     IUCN Status     :  Least Concern (LC)-

Small dioecious evergreen trees, bark is pale brown, smooth and shiny, peels off in strips; branchlets terete at base, quadrangular at apex. Leaves simple, opposite, 5-12 x 2-5 cm, elliptic, acute at base, obtuse at apex, margin revolute, glabrous, dark green on the upper surface and lighter green beneath; midrib channelled above, prominent beneath; lateral nerves 12-15 pairs, faint, looping below the margin forming intramarginal nerve; petiole 1.5-2.3 cm long, glabrous, channelled above. Inflorescence 5-7 cm across, axillary cymes; peduncle 5-8 cm long, glabrous, quadrangular or angled. Flowers 7-9 mm across, white; pedicel 2-3 mm long, glabrous. Calyx-tube 0.1 cm long, cup shaped; lobes 4. Petals 3-4 mm long, suborbicular. Stamens numerous, 5 mm long. Fruits 0.5-0.8 cm across, globoid, dark brown.

Allspice is an aromatic, evergreen, profusely-branched tree that usually grows 7-10 m tall but occasionally reaches 20 m. The bole can be up to 30 cm in diameter. Leaves are 7.5-15 cm long, oblong, leathery and aromatic. Leaves are sometimes used in cooking in somewhat the same manner as bay leaves. Creamy white flowers are borne in panicles, bloom from the upper leaf axils in summer. Female flowers give way to small green fruits which mature to reddish-brown. Fruits, up to 6 mm long are picked green, dried in the sun and stored, either powdered or whole, for culinary use. Whole fruits generally have a longer shelf life than powders and can be ground or crushed fresh when needed. The tree was used as a spice in the Caribbean before the arrival of the Europeans. Allspice is a single spice and not a blend of spices, but it smells enough like a blend (hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and cloves) for the British, who took Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655, to give it the common name of allspice.


The pimento is known to have great health benefits and is not just a spice as most people may believe. Pimento has a long history in folk medicine in the Caribbean and Central American. It is brewed into a tea to relieve colds, ease menstrual cramps, and calm an upset stomach. As a balm, allspice is applied to bruises, sore joints, and muscle aches. Its eugenol content eases diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and even constipation. The antioxidants present in pimento also have anti-inflammatory qualities that may ease cramps and aid digestion. Pimento also has anesthetic and analgesic properties that helps to relieve pain and relax muscles. It can be used also as a poultice made from the spice or as an essential oil. 


 Native of Central America and Caribbean

Flowering & Fruiting : March-June