SRI LANKAN CLOVES

Clove is the dried unopened flower bud of the evergreen tree. It is not known how and when clove was introduced to Sri Lanka, but it may be that the Arabian traders or Colonial rulers brought the plant to the country, as Sri Lanka was a major trading hub for spices during those times.

History

The clove tree is a medium sized symmetrically shaped tree with smooth grey bark. It is believed to be originated in Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Clove along with nutmeg and pepper were highly prized in Roman Era. Cloves were traded by Arabs in the Middle ages but in the 15th century Portugal took over the trade. The Portuguese brought large quantities of cloves to Europe mainly from Malku Islands and valued it at seven grams of gold per kg. Later the Spanish then the Dutch dominated the trade till the seventeenth century.  The French introduced clove to Mauritius in the year 1770 subsequently the cultivation were introduced to Guiana, Zanzibar, West Indies and most of the Brazil.  It is not known how and when clove was introduced to Sri Lanka but may be the Arab traders or Colonial rulers may have brought the plant to the country as Sri Lanka was a major trading hub for spices during that time.

  

Products and Uses

Clove is largely used as dried whole buds. Ground clove is used for curry mixtures and clove oil is used for flavoring foods and in pharmaceutical perfumery industry. 
Cloves are used either whole or ground to provide flavor for both sweet and savory foods in pickling and the production of sauces and ketchups. In medicine it is valued as a carminative, aromatic and stimulant. It is being used in cigarette industry as a flavoring agent. Clove oil is used in perfumes, in dentistry and a clearing agent in microscopy.

Major Growing Areas

Clove is mainly grown in Mid Country wet zone of Sri Lanka. Total extent of clove is 7618ha. and Kandy, Kegalle and Matale districts are major growing areas.

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