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Pimenta dioica

(pa-MINT-ta dee-oh-EE-ka)




FAMILY: Myrtaceae


TYPE: Tropical tree


LOCATION: Hot, dry sites in full sun or in pots.


PLANTING: Seed in the spring or transplants anytime.


HEIGHT: Up to 30 feet


SPREAD: 20 feet


FINAL SPACING: One is enough.


BLOOM/FRUIT: Greenish-white flowers followed by berries similar to black pepper. It is dioecious so male and female plants must be present for fruit to develop.


GROWTH HABITS/CULTURE: Small tropical tree native to south America and W. Indies. It is evergreen and has aromatic bark, leaves, berries, and bunches of flowers. Glossy foliage.


PROBLEMS: It will freeze in the winter except in tropical areas or with careful protection.


HARVEST/STORAGE: Berries are gathered when mature but still green and dried for use.


CULINARY USES: Allspice is used to flavor food, especially to sweeten dishes with its peppery taste.


MEDICINAL USES: It is used as a warming medicine given as a tea for chills and flatulence.


LANDSCAPE USES: Greenhouse or container plant.


OTHER USES: Berries are eaten as a breath sweetener. Leaves and berries are used to make oil for cosmetics.


INSIGHT: Seeds are now available from specialty seed companies. Dried allspice seed in the grocery store has probably been heat-treated and will not be viable. Can only be grown in pots in the summer anywhere, in tropical regions and in greenhouses.



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