Pimenta dioica, Pimenta officinalis
Allspice, Jamaica Pepper, Pimento Tree, Alspice
Origin: southern Mexico through Central America and the Caribbean
Ground allspice is not a mixture of spices, as some people believe. Rather, it is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. This is a slow growing, beautiful little tree with aromatic leaves. It was discovered in Mexico in 16th century by Spanish explorers who called it “pimienta”, confusing it with black pepper. The spice made from the dried, unripe fruit of this plant, is a brown powder that smells like cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg altogether, hence the common name.
Allspice is the only spice whose commercial production is entirely confined to the New World. Nowadays allspice is grown commercially in Mexico, Honduras, Trinidad, Cuba, and especially in Jamaica, which practically has a monopoly and exports about 5,000 tons a year. To protect the Allspice trade, for long time the plant was guarded against export from Jamaica. Many attempts were made at growing the plant from seeds, but all failed. At one time it was thought that the plant would grow nowhere else except in Jamaica where the plant was readily spread by birds. Eventually it was realized that passage through the bird gut, due to the acidity and the elevated temperature, was essential for germinating the seeds.
The fruit is picked when it is green and unripe and, traditionally, dried in the sun. When dry, the fruits are brown and resemble large brown peppercorns. The whole fruits have a longer shelf life than the powdered allspice and produce a more aromatic product when freshly ground before use.
Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. The leaves are also used in cooking: they are similar in texture to bay leaves, infused during cooking and then removed before serving. Unlike bay leaves, they lose much flavor when dried and stored. The leaves and wood are often used for smoking meats. Allspice is used in pickles, marinades, and to flavor pumpkin pies, cakes and candies. An oil pressed from the fruits is used in perfumes and cosmetics. The liqueurs, Benedictine and Chartreuse, contain allspice flavoring. Allspice can also be found in essential oil form. The principal essential oil is eugenol, the same as found in cloves. Being an antimicrobial agent, it is used as an anesthetic for tooth aches and as a digestive aid.
Pimenta dioica is valued as a specimen tree with attractive peeling bark and fragrant leaves. It needs near-tropical conditions to survive; can be grown outdoors in the tropics and subtropics with normal garden soil and watering. Smaller plants can be killed by frost, although larger plants are more cold tolerant. Mature trees will stand short periods of light frost, to 26F. The plant adapts well to container and makes an excellent plant for indoor or greenhouse culture. It is dioecious, and hence male and female plants must be kept in proximity in order to allow fruits to develop. It may not flower and fruit outside its native range, but the big glossy aromatic leaves are an attraction.
- Pimenta racemosa, Caryophyllus racemosus (Bay Rum Tree)
- Herb Book Commendations
- Allspice Tree
- A Tasteful, Flowering Evergreen
- Planting & Care
- Allspice tree – information before buying:
- Products from Amazon.com
- Allspice berries
- Allspice for sale – Seeds or Plants to Buy
- Jamaican Pimento
Pimento, Bay Rum Berry, Jamaica Pepper, Pepper Myrtle, Toute-epice, Clove Pepper
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Herb Book Commendations
Australia has waited 20 years for her first home-grown herbal, but here it is at last! Isabell has always been the source of plants and advice for many of us, her admirers. We can be proud of her encyclopaedic work (Acerola to Yucca) on plants, which includes a vast reference background, as well as practical advice. “Shipard on herbs” is destined to be one of those foundation books that will be in print for the next century. Buy one for yourself, and your grandchildren. Bill MollisonFounder, The Permaculture Institute In all the places I have travelled and worked in the world as a Permaculture designer and teacher, I’ve never met anybody who has such a depth and diversity of knowledge of individual plants, their functions, cultural uses and the growing conditions they require as Isabell Shipard. This book is destined to become a classic reference for everyone who needs to understand all the vital characteristics of herbs, for medicinal, culinary and functional uses. In the quest for sustainability, we are lucky to have such information available in explicit detail. Geoff LawtonDirector, Permaculture Research Institute, The Channon, NSW, Australia This is an impressive book. The real breadth and depth of Isabell Shipard s experience combined with detailed and extensive research makes this a very rich and empowering book. Giving you most practical and accessible ways to actively participate in caring for your health, it is a highly valuable source of guidance and help. Lynnette WebbyLife-change Consultant and Researcher, Sunshine Coast Staying healthy is important to me. Many people, who make an intelligent decision to take responsibility for their own personal health and wellbeing, value the holistic approach to health care. This comprehensive herbal handbook is an indispensable reference tool. Whether you need a textbook on herbs, a handy survival manual or a practical guide to growing herbs, this book is it! You will love this book, it will inspire and motivate you to use the knowledge, to get growing, and reap the benefits of a living, sustainable, food supplementation and first-aid kit – in your own backyard. Be prepared to change your lifestyle, increase your savings, to have a healthier family AND to enjoy a great read! Christine BennettFull-time Carer, Sunshine Coast Previous
Pimenta dioica syn. Pimento officinalis, Myrtus dioica, Eugenia pimenta F. Myrtaceae
An attractive, evergreen tree to 10 metres, with dark-green, glossy, oblong-lanceolate shaped, clove smelling leaves 15cm long. Clusters of the small, fluffy, very sweet smelling, white flowers on the ends of the branches, appear in summer, and are followed by round berries 6 -10mm diameter, which ripen to dark purple. There is a thin layer of soft, sweet, aromatic pulp around the seeds, which is very tasty and reminiscent of cloves. Even the bark of the tree and the branches and twigs taste like cloves. Seeds are about the size of a peppercorn.
… … omitted text, please see How can I use HERBS in my daily life? for full text.
The part of the tree that is called ‘allspice’ of commerce is the unripe berries that are picked and dried. Fruit is harvested when fully developed, but still green, then fermented by curing, drying and sweating, which creates an enzyme reaction that produces the strong pungent aroma and flavour of allspice. The best way of describing the aroma is a combination of cloves, cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. When I take visitors on farm walks and give them a leaf to smell, usually their faces light up as they inhale the aroma from the leaf, crushed in their hands, and they say how absolutely wonderful the smell is and that it is cloves or cinnamon. When berries are fully dried, with a moisture level of 10-12 percent, they go dark brown. Allspice, like all tropical spices, to keep aroma and flavour, needs to be stored away from heat, humidity and light. When ground, the powder has a wonderful, warm aroma, of cloves and is a dark, brown colour.
… … omitted text, please see How can I use HERBS in my daily life? for full text.
Allspice is warming to the body, acting as a stimulant, and also very settling to the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract. The eugenol content is said to promote digestive enzymes in the body. For this reason, using the spice in food or drinking as a tea after a meal, is most beneficial. Eugenol is also used by dentists as a local anaesthetic on the teeth and gums. Allspice oil is applied to painful teeth and gums, similarly to clove oil. For toothache, a fresh leaf of allspice can be chewed, and then placed in the area of the tooth giving pain.
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allspiceLearn about culinary uses and health benefits of allspice.© American Chemical Society (A Britannica Publishing Partner)See all videos for this article
Allspice, tropical evergreen tree (Pimenta diocia, formerly P. officinalis) of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae), native to the West Indies and Central America and valued for its berries, the source of a highly aromatic spice. Allspice was so named because the flavour of the dried berry resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is widely used in baking and is usually present in mincemeat and mixed pickling spice. Early Spanish explorers, mistaking it for a type of pepper, called it pimenta, hence its botanical name and such terms as pimento and Jamaica pepper. The first record of its import to Europe is from 1601.
The allspice tree attains a height of about 9 metres (30 feet). The fruits are picked before they are fully ripe and then dried in the sun. During drying the berries turn from green to a dull reddish brown. The nearly globular fruit, about 5 millimetres (0.2 inch) in diameter, contains two kidney-shaped, dark-brown seeds. Its flavour is aromatic and pungent. The essential oil content is about 4 1/2 percent for Jamaica allspice and about 2 1/2 percent for that of Central America; its principal component is eugenol.
The name allspice is applied to several other aromatic shrubs as well, especially to one of the sweet shrubs, the Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus), a handsome flowering shrub native to the southeastern United States and often cultivated in England. Other allspices include: the Japanese allspice (Chimonanthus praecox), native to eastern Asia and planted as an ornamental in England and the United States; the wild allspice, or spicebush (Lindera benzoin), a shrub of eastern North America, with aromatic berries, reputed to have been used as a substitute for true allspice.
Allspice tree in a greenhouse
Allspice is made from the dried, unripened berries of the allspice tree (Pimenta dioica) which is native to the Caribbean, southern Mexico and Central America. It was called “allspice” by the English who thought that it tasted like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It is an important ingredient in Jamaican Jerk seasoning. Its use has spread throughout the world and is now found in Middle Eastern cooking, as well as Great Britain, Germany and most famously, in Cincinnati-style chili in the US.
True to its tropical origins, the allspice tree is hardy only in zones 10 and 11. Mature trees can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet. They need full sun and are often grown to provide shade for coffee trees. Despite their large size, if properly pruned, they can be grown in containers like bay laurel trees.
Small white flowers appear in the spring followed by dark purple berries in the summer. The berries are harvested when they are green before they ripen to purple. Traditionally, they are dried in the sun. When dried, they are brown, resembling peppercorns. Once the dried berries are ground, they begin to lose their flavor so it is a good idea to buy allspice whole and grind it yourself only when you need it. The whole dried berries retain their flavor longer than when they are ground.
The leaves of the allspice tree are also flavorful and used in Caribbean cuisine. Unlike bay leaves, they lose their flavor once they are dried so they are only used fresh.
Normally the seeds of the allspice tree needs to pass through the digestive system of birds before they will germinate, but you can fool the seeds and grow your own tree. Simply wait until the berries have ripened, then extract the 2 seeds inside each berry and soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. This will soften the hard seed coat.
Plant your seeds ¼-inch deep in a pot and place the pot on a heat mat which is set at 70⁰F to 80⁰F. Keep the soil moist. Germination could occur as soon as 2 weeks but could also take up to 3 months. You will need patience. If you are fortunate to live in zone 10 or 11, you can transplant your seedling into your garden in the fall. Again, you will need patience because it will be several years before your trees will begin to flower and produce berries.
The rest of us in colder climes will need to grow our allspice trees in containers, bringing them indoors when night time temps drop below 60⁰F. We need to be vigilant and keep our containers well-watered. Allspice trees do not tolerate any dryness.
Allspice is native to the West Indies and the tropical forests of Latin America. Jamaica is the world’s leading producer.
Sub-tropical or tropical and needs no special care. Young plants can be killed by frost, but larger ones are more tolerant. In their native territories, they grow at elevations between 500-1300 metres.
The allspice is an attractive evergreen tree that can grow to 10 metres high with a spread of 4 metres. The leaves and possibly the bark have a spicy aroma. The white flowers are strongly perfumed and very attractive to bees and other insects.
They are a member of the very large Myrtaceae Family which includes many familiar plant names like cloves, guavas, feijoas, lillypillies and many more.
They prefer a well-drained, light soil with basic pH in a sunny area. Keep the root zone free from weeds with a layer of good mulch.
Allspice is grown from seed. It is best to obtain the seeds from fresh ripe berries. Germination may begin in two weeks; plant immediately in a good seed-raising mix and plant out when about a year old.
Germination is said to be improved by passage through a bird’s gut. Possibly warmth and a bath in a mild acid solution might substitute.
They can also be budded.
Flowering and Pollination:
Opinion is divided on whether allspice is dioecious or monoecious. The usual advice is to have at least three trees in the hope of obtaining both male and female trees. However, it is on record that isolated trees can bear fruit. In any case, cross pollination probably improves the quantity and quality of the berries.
Seedlings may need some protection from wind, frost and sun when first planted. They do best with good rainfall or irrigation.
Apical pruning is recommended to encourage branching and fruiting.
Allspice is the dried unripe fruit. When ground, the pungent aroma is reminiscent of a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Whole berries are used in pickled products and medicinal preparations. Ground berries are used to flavour a wide range of food and baked goods. The leaves are also used for tea and flavouring purposes.
Fruit Production and Harvesting:
Trees can begin bearing at 3 or 4 years. The fruit are harvested by breaking off the twigs bearing the bunches. They should be picked before the berries are fully ripe, as soon as they attain their full size but still green. They are then dried in the sun or in a dryer.
Pests and Diseases:
Susceptible to rust diseases, mealybugs and termites.
Can be grown in a large pot.
At the end of the 19th century pimento was used to make umbrella sticks and this led to the wanton cutting of allspice saplings until strict legislation saved the young Jamaican trees from extinction due to this passing vogue.
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A Tasteful, Flowering Evergreen
Why Allspice Trees?
You probably have it your spice rack. Allspice is used for pickling, in baking, and its oils are used in a range of products. But did you know allspice comes from a tree known for its aromatic tendencies and pretty white blooms set against an evergreen backdrop?
Now you can have it in your own backyard. The Allspice Tree’s distinguished white-gray bark and small brown fruit, which boasts aromas akin to cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stand out wherever you plant it. You may recall allspice as the critical ingredient in your grandmother’s award-winning pumpkin pie…now imagine harvesting your own!
One of the world’s most fragrant trees, the Allspice also delivers natural anesthetic, which can be used in a pinch for a toothache or upset stomach. In Caribbean culture, the leaves and fruit of the Allspice are often thought to be a natural antioxidant.
Despite all its uses, it’s an easy grower. The Allspice, native to the Caribbean and Central America, can be grown successfully in warmer climates in the United States, and once established, is often quite hardy and resistant to minor drought. While female plants need a male pollinator to show fruit, some male plants are able to flower on their own!
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Planting & Care
1. Planting: Plan to grow your Allspice Tree in a location where it will receive direct morning light or partially shaded locations in the afternoon. It adapts to a number of soil types but prefers well-drained soil.
Dig your hole about 2 to 3 times the diameter of the container your tree arrives in. Set the soil aside, and amend as needed, thoroughly blending any additions. Rake a little of the soil mix into the hole, and set the root ball allowing for a little settling but with the goal to have the soil level be the same as the garden soil around it. Fill about halfway up the hole and water well, allow the water to drain through the soil, and finish backfilling around the tree.
2. Watering: Water once a day for the first two weeks, then reduce the frequency to twice per week. If you’re not sure when to water, simply check the surrounding soil about 3 inches down.
3. Fertilizing: When fertilizing Allspice Trees, use a low concentration, well-balanced fertilizer. Start about 6 months after planting and every 6 months or so thereafter.
4. Pruning: Wait to prune your Allspice Tree until it is well established. Typically, you’ll want to wait three years before pruning (after it has started blooming, preferably). Prune only during the winter when the tree is not actively growing. Shape the tree so as to have a tight and full growing habit.
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Allspice tree for sale
Allspice tree for sale – Easy plant to grow, with edible leaves, seeds and fruits, also grown for the ornamental leaves and it a shade tree, planting in spring to summer, better to grafted tree that it will be male and female plant.
Allspice tree – information before buying:
Growing information: perennial plant, growing hardiness zone: 6-12, also can grow as house plant, water needed – average to big amount, light conditions – partial to full sun, height: 2-5m, 6-16 feet (in colder climate) and 10-18 m, 33-60 feet (in warmer climate)
Blooming in the spring, flowers that appear in white color.
Bear Fruit in the summer in round shape that appear in black color.
Edible part: fruits, seeds and leaves, fruit harvest in the summer and can be used for spice, cooked or dried, leaves can be harvest all the year and can be used as spice, cooked or herb.
Alternative names: Pimenta diocia, Pimento, Jamaica pimenta, Pimento, Myrtle pepper, Turkish yenibahar, Jamaica pepper, Pimento, Pimenta diocia, Pimenta officinalis, New spice, Clove pepper, Tout-epice, Pepper clover
Allspice tree for sale
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The name suggests a blended mix of spices but Allspice is a single spice from dried berries of the allspice tree.
Taste – Its tastes reminds flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pepper.
Uses – Allspice has multiple properties, recognized in herbal medicine. Allspice has a great amount of vitamin A, B6 and C. Its leaves reduce the pain associated with rheumatism. The Jamaican pepper is also used in gargles or in local applications to treat dental pain thanks to one of the components: eugenol. It has anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant and antineuralgic properties. The essential oil is used to treat fungal infections. Allspice tree can also be used as an ornamental plant for its foliage. Allspice is used as a spice in cooking for seasoning many savory dishes such as stews, meats, rice, soups, marinades and sweets like pastries and fruity desserts. Leaves are used as a condiment. The dried seeds can be used as a flavoring agent.
Here are some growing tips:
Location – full sun
Temperature – optimal between 15 and 25°C (59 to 77°F)
Soil – fertile and well-drained with a neutral pH (6.5 to 7.2)
Propagation – from seed. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for the seed to germinate. Young plants are very sensitive to frost and should be protected in risky areas.
Watering – Water regularly during the growing season and less in winter. Better to grow in a clay pot.
Fertilizer – moderate level during the growth period
Harvesting – It takes few years for a tree to bear fruits. The berries are hand-picked before being totally fully ripen (fully grown with a green color). They are then sun dried.
Pruning – to maintain the size and shape
Pests and diseases – no pests and diseases
More information for growing
Allspice growing tree of the genus Pimenta also known as English pepper or Jamaica pepper, Allspice perennial evergreen plant also used as fragrant ornamental plant, can grow in tropic mediterranean or subtropical climate and growing in hardiness zone 10+.
Leaves are fragrant edible dark green the shape elliptic.
Flowers are small and white grow in clusters.
Fruit (berries) edible color is black 0.3-0.8 mm, fruit can be used dry or fresh and the seeds are also edible.
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How to grow Allspice growing and care:
Humidity, acid soil
What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Seed
Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction?
Difficulties or problems when growing:
Not something special
When is the best time to plant?
Spring / Summer
Pests and diseases:
Spider mites, aphids
When is the best time to prune?
Autumn / Winter
How to prune:
For design, can be prune
Size of the plant?
10-18 m (32-59 feet), outside of the comfort zone 2-5 m (6-15 feet)
Growth speed in optimal condition:
Slow growing / Medium growing
Average amount of water / Big amount of water
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun / Half Shade
Is it possible to grow as houseplant?
Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:
General information about the flower
Small white flowers that grow in clusters
Pollination is done by:
Fruit harvest season:
Fruits pests or diseases:
What can be done with big quantities of Allspice fruits?
Spice, cooked, dried
Work requirements on the fruit:
How long does it take to bear fruit?
Leaves harvesting season
How to harvest the leaves?
After the plant establish can be cut with the branches
Information about leaves:
Elliptic shape, dark green fragrant leaves
Uses of Allspice leaves:
Spice, cooked, herb
- Spring flowers
- Edible Fruit
- Edible leaves
- Edible Seeds
- White flower
- Mediterranean Climate
- Subtropics Climate
- Tropics Climate
- Autumn Harvest
- Spring Harvest
- Summer Harvest
- Winter harvest
- Ornamental leaves
- Ornamental plant
Plant growing speed
- Average growing plants
- Slow growing plants
- Perennial plant
- Edible plants
- Medical uses
- Ornamental plants
- Shade tree
- Autumn Planting
- Spring Planting
- Summer planting
Plants sun exposure
- Full sun Plants
- Part shade Plants
- Big amount of water
- Regularly water
- Hardiness zone 10
- Hardiness zone 11
- Hardiness zone 12
- Hardiness zone 13
Allspice, usually known as pimento outside the USA is the dried unripe berry of the tree Pimenta dioica (formerly called Pimenta officinalis) and is a native of the West Indies and Latin America.
It bears its name because of its flavour which resembles a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It is a member of the Myrtle family, growing about 35 feet tall. Its grey bark smells good; its dark green leaves smell good (from the glandular dots on the. underside) and its greeny-white flowers are almost overpowering. So any encounters with the tree in the garden are very aromatic, pungent and pleasant.
The flowers produce a succulent berry that ripens from green to dark purple and contains two pea-sized seeds. The allspice seeds are the dried, unripe, but full-grown aromatic fruits which are harvested 3-4 months after flowering.
Seventy percent of the oil extracted from these seeds is eugenol, which is the same oil found in cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is this oil which gives the distinctive flavouring to Chartreuse and other liqueurs which, from centuries ago, have been made in European monasteries.
Allspice is grown principally in the limestone hills in the southwestern part of Jamaica at elevations of less than 1500 feet. Attempts were made to grow it in places like Java and Sumatra but the trees failed to produce fruit so it is basically a Western hemisphere plant and Jamaica continues to produce the world’s greatest supply of allspice.
It should not be confused with another closely related member of the myrtle family indigenous to the West Indies, Pimenta acris KosteL, the leaves of which are distilled to produce an oil which, combined with alcohol and water, forms the cosmetic lotion Bay rum.
When the Spaniards first came across the allspice tree in Mexico they named it Piper Tabasci. Because the allspice berries resembled peppercorns in shape and flavour, the name pimiento (pepper) was given them by the Spaniards, a name which was latter corrupted and anglicized into pimento. From the 17th to the 19th century, allspice berries were used to preserve meat on long sea voyages. Nowadays Scandinavians still use them to preserve fish for the coastal markets of Norway, Finland and Sweden. At the end of the 19th century pimento was used to make umbrella sticks and this led to the wanton cutting of allspice saplings until strict legislation saved the young Jamaican trees from this passing vogue.
Pimento is usually grown from seed, preferably from fresh ripe fruit selected from well-developed clusters of regularly fruiting trees. The seeds are extracted by squeezing them with the fingers from their pulpy covering before planting. They must then be planted immediately to Obtain a high percentage of germination which commences in about two weeks and continues for several months. The seedlings may be transplanted into plastic pots ‘and grown in humid, shady situations. About one year after germination the seedlings should be 10-18 inches high and ready for planting out.
In a mature grove of allspice, there are two kinds of fruiting trees – those called female and the non-fruiting trees called male. Evidence is conflicting because sometimes the male trees bear small quantities of fruit. The fruitful and unfruitful are so similar in appearance that which trees are fertile usually cannot be determined until after flowering – usually from five to six years in the field. In Jamaica strict supervision is given to the harvesting. To avoid loss of aroma, the pimento berries are hand picked before they are fully ripe. After being dried for from 7 to 10 days in the sun, they are given a preliminary cleaning by the growers, and then shipped to the Government Pimento Cleaning House for a final cleaning before being packed for export. Copper fungicidal sprays are used occasionally in Jamaica to handle a leaf disease known as Pimento Rust., but spraying is stopped two months before the harvest.
Allspice berries are sold both whole and ground. The whole berries are reserved for meat broths, gravies and pickling liquids. Ground allspice is delicious in fruit desserts, fruitcakes, pies, relishes, sausages and preserves.
The following is a quote from Mrs Grieve: “It is a herb under the domination of Venus. It helps old ulcers, hot inflammations and burnings by common fire. For these uses the best way is to make it into an ointment. If you make a vinegar of it it helps leprosy, yellow jaundice, the spleen, gravel in the kidneys. Discorides saith ‘It helps such as are bitten by venomous beasts, whether it be taken inwardly or applied to the wound. Nay, he saith further that if any that hath newly eaten it do spit into the mouth of a serpent, the serpent instantly dies. It also kills worms and is as gallant a remedy to drive out the smallpox and measles as any. An ointment made of it is excellent for green wounds.'”
The pimento tree is indigenous to the Caribbean Islands.
It was found growing in Jamaica by early Spanish explorers who were quite impressed with the taste and aroma of the berries and the leaves. Pimento trees were later discovered in Cuba and were presumed to have been taken there by migratory birds which had eaten the berries. They have also been found in Mexico, but it is Jamaica that has the longest history, having been in continuous production since the tree was identified in about the year 1509.
The name Pimento originated from the Spanish word “pimienta” (pepper or peppercorn). To most English speaking people the tree is called “pimento” and the berries “allspice”. The name allspice originated from the popular notion that the pimento berry contains the characteristic flavour and aroma of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, all combined in one spice.
The pimento tree, Pimenta dioica, formerly officinalis, Lindl., belongs to the family Myrtaceae and is closely related to the Bay Tree and to Cloves. It is an evergreen tree, medium in size and in favourable locations will attain heights of from 6 to 15 m. Primary branches are generally formed about 1-3 m above the ground. Whilst both male and female varieties will produce blossoms, it is believed that only the blossoms of the female mature to give berries
At the end of the nineteenth century, it became fashionable to have umbrellas handles made of pimento. The great demand led to wanton cutting of the saplings and it was only through strict controls legislated in 1882 and equally strict enforcement of them that saved the young pimento trees from disappearing altogether.
Pimento is the major spice produced in Jamaica, and Jamaica is still one of its’ chief producers.
The main use of the pimento in Jamaica is as the primary ingredient in Jerk Seasoning. The leave and the wood are used when making authentic jerk that can be found in places such as Boston, Portland. It is also ground and used in baking and many other preparations as Allspice. Pimento is also used to make a highly prized liqueur, traditionally served at Christmas time.