How Cloves Are Produced

Cloves are actually the dried flower buds that come from the evergreen clove tree that thrives in tropical climates. It is native to the Spices Islands (Moluccas) of Indonesia, but is grown in many other places today including Sumatra, India, Brazil, Jamaica and the West Indies. The tree, which can grow to 30 feet tall, has white bell shaped flowers, the buds of which are green when they first appear and then turn pink as they mature.

Clove Flowers Sketch
The aromatic clove tree loves a tropical climate with rich soil, but it cannot take standing water. So it must be grown in a well drained area. It also prefers partial shade and a well distributed rainfall in a cooler area. The tree is propagated by its seeds which are allowed to drop naturally from the tree. The seeds can be sown directly in the ground, or sometimes are soaked overnight in water and then sown.

The clove tree will not produce flowers until it has been growing for at least 5 years. The cloves are hand picked when the buds are just turning pink, right before the flower opens. These harvested buds are sun dried which turns them a dark brown with light brown heads. The dried cloves are very light but one tree can yield 40 pounds.

There can be some problems when growing cloves. Seedling wilt is one of the most serious. This is a disease where the affected seedlings loose their luster, the leaves wilt and the tree dies. It can spread to the other clove trees. So any seedling affected with this needs to be disposed of immediately. Other problems like leaf rot, bud shedding and leaf spots can occur just as in any other plant and should be treated with sprays. There are also insects that feed on the tree which must be controlled.

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Interesting Fact:

Cloves are used to make Indonesian cigarettes which are two parts tobacco and one part clove.

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