Cinnamon - Cinnamomum zeylanicum


Cinnamon is a spice, made up of thin rolled woody sheets; these sheets are obtained by removing the bark from the young branches of a tropical tree of medium size, evergreen, native to southern Asia; to prepare cinnamon the bark is cleaned of the outer part, rolled and dried.
Cinnamon trees are medium in size, easily reaching 15-20 meters in height; they have a rounded, dense and thick crown; the foliage is dark green, and sometimes the young leaves appear reddish, as in the case of Cinnamomum camphora; they are shiny and leathery, of a lanceolate shape. In spring it produces small white flowers, gathered in loose racemes; the flowers follow small reddish fruits.
The cinnamomum zeylanicum it has been used in the kitchen for millennia, and now the cultivation has spread to most of the tropical areas of the world, including Africa and America, where it is also cultivated as an ornamental tree. There are various "qualities" of cinnamon, in the sense that the bark of other plants, treated in the same way, are sold with the name of cinnamon, although the bark of Cinnamonum zeylanicum (also called Cinnamomum verum) has a more pleasant and intense aroma . Cinnamon is also used in herbal medicine, herbal medicine and cosmetics.
Another very cultivated and widespread variety is the Cinnamomum cassia, commonly called Chinese cinnamon, a plant that produces a less valuable quality cinnamon with a more sour taste and a lower sugar content.


As regards the growth and exposure of cinnamomomum zeylanicum, plants prefer sunny or semi-shady locations; these are tropical trees, which need to be cultivated in areas with a mild climate. They fear intense and prolonged frosts, even if they can withstand quite low temperatures.
To achieve fast growth the ideal is to prevent the temperature from falling below 15 ° C. The exposure can be from very bright to partially sunny shade. Placements that are too hot can cause leaf burns.

Family, genus, species Lauraceae, Cinnamomum verum
Type of plant Tree
Foliage Persistent
Height at maturity From 6 to 15 meters
Culture Not demanding, but requires a warm or tropical climate
Water needs low
Exposure Sun, in a half-shaded vase
Minimum temperature 10-15 ° C
Ideal temperature 27 ° C
Environmental humidity High (vaporize often)
Ground Acid and draining: 50% acidophilic soil and sphagnum + 50% perlite
Soil humidity Dry, very well drained
Ph acid
Growth fast
Propagation Seed, branch or leaf cutting
Pruning At any time of the year
Bark collection Starting from the second year
use Vase to be collected in winter, houseplant


Plants need regular watering; they prefer moist climates, so if grown in greenhouses they need to be vaporized frequently.
This plant does not require constant care. The irrigations must be very moderate as the roots are subject to rottenness: let's proceed only when the substrate is dry in depth. It can be pruned at any time of the year, (but it is better at the beginning of the vegetative period) to give a pleasant shape to the crown or to collect its bark.


As far as the soil is concerned, cinnamon prefers fairly moist, but well-drained, humus-rich, loose and deep soils.


Speaking of Cinnamomum zeylanicum and reproduction, in spring it is possible to sow small dark seeds, which usually sprout fairly quickly; young plants are grown as houseplants for a few years before they are large enough to be moved to a cold greenhouse during the winter months.
New seedlings can be obtained by using cuttings (in a light and very draining substrate) or sowing.
The cinnamon tree loves well-drained and rather poor soils with an acid reaction. The ideal is to mix a soil for acidophilic with 40-50% of agriperlite and a little sphagnum. Even the volcanic soil is suitable.
We cure the draining layer, which must be thick, based on expanded clay or lapillus.
Growth is on average vigorous. Initially we can use large and 35 cm deep containers, but we will soon have to resort to large vessels: a healthy specimen in a few years can reach from 1.5 to 2.5 meters in height.

Pests and diseases

In nature the cinnamomum plants do not fear the attack of pests or diseases, the foliage is often struck by threatening larvae. Plants grown in a container in our climates can suffer from root rot, or they can be defoliated by deficiencies of environmental humidity or by excessive watering.

Aromatic properties

Cinnamon is cultivated and appreciated mainly for its aromatic properties. Cinnamon zeylanicum has medicinal properties thanks to the content of its bark. The other varieties of cinnamon contain mainly eugenol, a substance useful in the culinary field but not in the therapeutic field.
As already mentioned, being the properties of cinnamon mainly in the bark, and more precisely in the outer bark, the stems with which it is then decorticated are cut for drying. Initially, the outer layers of bark are taken away, to then progressively penetrate more and more inside.


As mentioned the Cinnamomum verum is a tropical tree, which needs special conditions to develop. In Italy the cultivation in open ground is impossible almost everywhere. The company can be tempted by those who live in the extreme south of the peninsula, even if the same soil and humidity conditions are not always guaranteed. To avoid serious damage, the temperatures must never fall below 10 ° C and the ambient humidity must be very high.
For the enthusiasts it is however possible to try the cultivation in pots, as long as you have a hot or cold greenhouse (depending on our climate zone) to repair the plant during the winter.

Cinnamon powder has anticryptogamic, antibacterial and insecticidal properties. It can be a valuable aid in fighting plant diseases in the early stages without resorting to synthetic products.Here are some suggestions:As an anticryptogamic: it is in particular very useful to avoid rotting during sowing. You can spread a thin layer of powder on the jars and repeat the administration when the plants are rising and giving off the first leaves.Spreading a little cinnamon on the foot can also be useful for adult specimens, both in the apartment and in the garden, to avoid the onset of powdery mildew, rust and scab.To promote healingA thin layer of cinnamon can be distributed on the cuts in every type of plant. A very common use consists in dusting the roots of the orchids after the normal operations of cleaning and repotting or after the removal of parts with rotting.To make cuttings:Cinnamon is an excellent substitute for hormones for the production of cuttings.To ward off unwanted animalsThe strong smell of cinnamon acts as a repellent for ants (both at home and in the garden) and to keep cats that have the bad habit of digging or urinating in our green areas.Antioxitic alcohol-based insecticide:We proceed by pouring a heaping spoonful of powder into a liter of high-grade alcohol. Leave to infuse for at least 24 hours and then spray it on the leaves and trunks, after vigorously shaking the container. We repeat for at least 5-6 consecutive days: it is effective against cochineal, thrips and red spider mite.Cinnamon - Cinnamomum zeylanicum: History

Although this spice comes from the Far East in Europe it was already known in ancient times, mostly used for medicinal or aromatic purposes. Its use in the kitchen, in both sweet and savory dishes, is much later.
It is mentioned several times in the Old Testament and we know that it was currently used by the Egyptians to perfume environments and the person, as well as during embalming procedures. The Romans considered it rare and precious, to be used very sparingly; this despite the emperor Nero bought a huge quantity to burn (as it was used) during the funeral rites of his wife Poppea.
In the Middle Ages it was the preserve of the wealthiest classes only. They were used, in combination with other spices, for the preparation of meat-based dishes, to mask the decay with stronger flavors.
It was observed that it had excellent effects on digestion and then began to be used in medicinal ointments or alcoholic beverages.
Cinnamon, later, was one of the engines that brought European powers to great explorations and colonial conquests. Particularly in 1600 before Portugal, then Holland, almost totally monopolized its importation from Sri Lanka.
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