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Sri Lankan Spices

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Clove (Eugenia caryophyllus)

Family Myrtaceae

Clove of commerce is the dried, fully grown but still unopened flower buds of
the evergreen tree Eugenia caryophyllus of the family Myrtaceae. Clove oil
obtained by the distillation of flower buds, inflorescence branches left after
the buds have been removed, and the leaves is the other product of commercial
value. It is a colourless or slightly yellowish liquid, becoming darker with age
and exposure to the light. The clove tree is a medium sized symmetrically shaped
tree with smooth grey bark. Fully grown trees are usually 15 - 20m tall.


Agronomic Requirements for cultivation

Clove grows well in a humid tropical climate from sea level up to an elevation
of about 1,000m. An average rainfall of 1,750 - 2,500mm. per annum is sufficient
for the crop. It is however, necessary that dry periods alternate with moist
ones for good flowering. Nevertheless, the crop cannot stand prolonged drought.
In Sri Lanka, although clove is cultivated mostly in the mid-country, the
potential for its cultivation in the wet low-country plains is considerable. The
annual average temperature should be 20° - 30°C without much seasonal and
diurnal variations. Clove thrives well in a variety of soils. Deep and rich
loams with high humus content are best suited for the crop. Clove does not
tolerate water logging and therefore land selected for this crop should be well

Field Planting and Spacing

Clove is propagated through seeds and no special varieties have been
identified. Seeds must be germinated and planted in Polythene Bags. Cloves are
usually spaced 6.0 m x 7.25 m. The selected 15 to 20 months old seedlings may be
planted in the beginning of the rainy season. Shade is essential during the
first two or three years of growth. Thereafter full exposure to light is

For proper field establishment and higher yields, it is essential that the
plants are fertilized adequately from the time they are planted in the field.
The following fertilizer mixture and rates are currently recommended.