Syzygium aromaticum

Common Name: clove 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Myrtaceae
Native Range: Indonesia
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Red-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Fruit: Showy


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining, deep, fertile loams in full sun to part shade. Young trees benefit from additional shade until they mature. Hardy in tropical Zones 11-12. Propagate with seeds or softwood cuttings. Seeds have a short period of viability and must be planted fresh.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Syzygium aromaticum, commonly called clove, is a small, evergreen tree native to the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia but widely cultivated throughout the tropics. Mature trees will reach 15-30' tall with a 10-20' wide, dense, pyramidal canopy. The leathery, glossy leaves are ovate to lanceolate in shape and will reach 3-5" long and 1-2" wide. The flowers are held in terminal, cyme-like panicles. The blooms are made up of a cylindrical calyx that matures from pale green to red-pink and is topped by the petals, filamentous stamens, and style. The flowers are followed by ellipsoid fruits that contain one seed and mature from red to dark purple-black. When clove is picked for use as a culinary spice, the flower buds are removed when the stamens and style are still wrapped tightly in the unopened petals.

Genus name comes from the Greek word syzygos meaning "joined" with reference to the paired leaves and branchlets of a Jamaican species (Calyptranthes suzygium) for which the name was used originally.

The specific epithet aromaticum means "aromatic".

The common name clove comes from the French clou meaning "nail" or "spike" in reference to the shape of the dried flower buds of this species.


Susceptible to eucalyptus canker and Sumatra disease. Scale and mealy bugs can be problematic. Stem borer (Sahyadrassus malabaricus) is a significant pest of clove in certain parts of India.


Accent specimen for tropical gardens. Can be grown in greenhouses in colder climates. Requires hot and humid growing conditions. The dried flower buds and the essential oil extracted from both the flower buds and the leaves of this plant are used to flavor various baked goods, confections, processed meats, and beverages. Clove also has a variety of traditional medicinal applications, including the treatment of stomach upset, parasites, and tooth aches.