The cinnamon tree is the source of the spice cinnamon, which is one of the most economically important spices cultivated today. The tree is an evergreen semitropical plant that is a quick grower and hardy. Cinnamon grows in very poor soils and is tolerant of a variety of nutritional levels. The inner bark of the cinnamon tree is the source of the spice. It is dried and then ground or grated for use. The tree produces a drupe, or cluster of tiny fruits, that becomes the seed. The fruit ripens six months after flowering and is sown in the wild by birds and animals.
Characteristics of Cinnamon Seed
The seed is found in the drupes. The black fruits are berrylike and contain tiny black seeds. Cinnamon seeds are dicots, which means that they have two equal halves when bisected lengthwise. The two halves are called cotyledons and will form the first pair of leaves. Inside the seed is the embryo, which will emerge as the seedling. The seed is reddish brown and resembles an almond.
Harvesting Cinnamon Seed
Cinnamon seed is harvested when the fruits are ripe and falling off the tree. This is when animals are most likely to ingest the fruit and help plant the seed in appropriate locations. The seed needs to be rinsed and rubbed repeatedly to get the pulp from the fruit off and then sown as soon as possible. Viability decreases the longer the seed is kept out of a growing medium.
Sowing Cinnamon Seed
Cinnamon seed should be grown in a balanced soil comprised of half silt and half clay mixed with plenty of organic matter. The seeds should be planted 3/4 inch under the soil mix and kept well watered. Germination will be in 15 to 20 days. Trees should be kept in indirect light until they are 6 months old.