Cinnamomum verum
Common Name: cinnamon 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lauraceae
Native Range: India, Java, peninsular Malaysia
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Creamy white to pale yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Herb
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Young trees do best in part shade but as they mature can tolerate more sun. Hardy in tropical Zones 10-12. Will not tolerate prolonged exposure to sub-freezing temperatures. Can be grown in colder climates if overwintered indoors as a houseplant. Slowly acclimate overwintered plants to the outdoors in spring. Exposure to too much sun without acclimation will result in leaf scorch. Propagate through softwood cuttings or seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cinnamomum verum, commonly called Ceylon cinnamon or true cinnamon, is a small to medium sized, aromatic, evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka but cultivated in other tropical regions around the world. Mature plants will reach 30-50' tall with a 20-40' spread. The bark is dark grey-brown in color. The leathery, ovate leaves will reach 5-10" long and 1.75-4" wide. Small, creamy white to pale yellow flowers bloom in slightly drooping, axillary and terminal panicles. The flowers are followed by ovoid, 0.5" long fruits that mature from green to black.

Genus name comes from the classical Greek name for cinnamon.

The specific epithet verum means "true".

The common name Ceylon cinnamon refers to Sri Lanka where this plant is native. Although this species of cinnamon is often called "true" cinnamon, it is in the same genus as the other commercially available cinnamons and they are not inherently inferior to this species.


The young foliage is the preferred larval food source of the cinnamon butterfly (Chilasa clytia). Complete defoliation is possible on young plants. Leaf miners and beetles also feed on the foliage. Whiteflies, aphids, and scale can also affect this plant. Susceptible to stripe canker (caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi), anthracnose, various leaf spot diseases, and rusts. This plant has escaped cultivation and is considered invasive in certain areas including the Seychelles, Mauritius, and many Pacific Island nations including Samoa, Fiji, and the Cook Islands.


Accent specimen for tropical gardens. Can be grown in greenhouses in colder climates. Suitable for large containers, which can be overwintered indoors in colder climates. The bark and leaves of this species are highly aromatic and their essential oils are extracted and used to flavor a wide range of foods and beverages. Cinnamon oil is also an ingredient in many health products, soaps, candles, and other household items. The dried bark is widely used as a spice in baking and other culinary applications. It has a more delicate, floral, and sweet flavor compared to other commercially available cinnamons. The inner bark is removed from the tree, cut into segments and dried. During the drying process the segments curl and form quills which are then cut to the desired size and sold as cinnamon sticks. The dried bark is also commonly sold ground. Ceylon cinnamon has a variety of traditional medicinal uses including the treatment respiratory and digestive issues.