- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum) is a small evergreen tree 10-15 meters (32.8-49.2 feet) tall, belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka and Southern India. The bark is widely used as a spice. The leaves are ovate-oblong in shape, 7-18 cm (2.75-7.1 inches) long. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color, and have a rather disagreeable odor. The fruit is a purple one-centimeter berry containing a single seed.
Its flavor is due to an aromatic essential oil which makes up 0.5 to 1% of its composition. This oil is prepared by roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in sea-water, and then quickly distilling the whole. It is of a golden-yellow color, with the characteristic odor of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste. The pungent taste and scent come from cinnamic aldehyde or cinnamaldehyde and, by the absorption of oxygen as it ages, it darkens in color and develops resinous compounds.