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Definition: cinnamon from Philip's Encyclopedia

Light-brown spice made from the dried inner bark of the cinnamon tree. Its delicate aroma and sweet flavour make it a common ingredient in food, and it was once extremely expensive. The tree is a bushy evergreen native to India and Burma and cultivated in the West Indies and South America. Family Lauraceae; species Cinnamomum zeylanicum.


Summary Article: cinnamon from The Columbia Encyclopedia

name for trees and shrubs of the genus Cinnamomum of the family Lauraceae (laurel family). True cinnamon spice comes from the Ceylon or Sri Lanka cinnamon (C. verum or C. zeylanicum), now cultivated in several tropical regions. It is obtained by drying the central part of the bark and is marketed as stick cinnamon or in powdered form. The waste and other parts are used for oil of cinnamon, a medicine and flavoring. Cassia or Chinese cinnamon (C. cassia) was used in China long before true cinnamon. Though considered an inferior substitute for true cinnamon, the spice and oil derived from its bark and that of the related Saigon cinnamon (C. loureiroi) are more commonly sold as cinnamon than spice derived from C. verum bark, which is more delicately flavored. Cinnamon and cassia (often confused) have been favorite spices since biblical times, used also as perfume and incense. Cinnamon is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Magnoliales, family Lauraceae.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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