- Agriculture, Forestry & Soils
- Field crops, grasses, plant fibers, spices, tree crops, herbs
Strausbaugh, Perry D. Department of Botany, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Core, Earl L. Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Last reviewed:June 2021
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A small, tropical, evergreen tree (Pimenta dioica) and its dried, unripe fruit (berry). Allspice (Pimenta dioica; alternatively, P. officinalis) [see illustration] is a member of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). Allspice, which is also known as Jamaica pepper, is a native of the West Indies and parts of Central America and South America. The plant is cultivated primarily for its dried, unripe fruits (berries). When the allspice fruits are dried, they resemble peppercorns and are used for the spicing or flavoring of foods. Allspice is so named because its flavor resembles that of a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In particular, the spice, alone or in mixtures, is used frequently as a flavor in sausages, pickles, sauces, and soups. In addition, an oil can be extracted from the leaves and fruits of allspice. This essential oil, which is called allspice oil, pimenta oil, or pimento oil, is used in flavoring, medicines, and perfumery. It is yellow to brown in color and has a spicy aroma and pungent taste. Its main components are eugenol and various terpenes. See also: Essential oil; Myrtales; Spice and flavoring
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