Wild Cinnamon is one of Florida’s finest native trees. It is a rare, beautiful tree with verdant, evergreen foliage, rich red flowers and bright red fruits. The leaves and bark are aromatic and have a refreshing, spicy scent that is similar to cinnamon and cloves. It is native to southern Florida, the West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. In Florida, it grows wild along Florida Bay in the everglades and in the Florida Keys. It grows in coastal thickets and hammocks. Wild Cinnamon is a shrub or a small tree with an upright, columnar form and a dense canopy. It has smooth, dark gray bark and horizontal branches that have clusters of leaves at the twig ends. The leaves are thick, slightly fleshy, obovate, rich deep green and waxy or glossy. Small, 5-petalled flowers are produced in clusters at the twig ends. The flowers are red and the flower buds are green and purple. Fruits are globose, red berries with several glossy, black seeds. Wild Cinnamon is grown as an ornamental and specimen tree and as a street tree. The inner bark has been used as a substitute for cinnamon. The outer bark and other parts of the plant are not edible. The bark is harvested from the wild as a spice and for medicine. The heartwood is blackish, the sapwood olive brown. The wood is very hard and very heavy. It has been used for ploughs, poles, and beams.
Seeds are Stored in a Refrigerator to Maintain Viability
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.