Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Clove, a term, perhaps originally implying cleavage or separation, applied to the small buds or bulbils formed in the axils of the scales of bulbs, as in garlic, by which bulbs multiply. It is still more commonly applied to the dried unopened flower-buds of the small evergreen myrtaceous tree Eugenia caryophyllata, a, native of the Moluccas, the cultivation of which was once restricted by the Dutch to the island of Amboyna, but is now extensively carried on in Penang, Zanzibar, and the West Indies. Here it is derived from the French clou, a nail, from the form of the bud with its long receptacular tube enclosing the inferior ovary. The fruits are imported as mother cloves, and the stalks are used to adulterate the spice when ground. The whole plant is aromatic from the presence of the essential oil of cloves, which occurs to the extent of 16 to 18 per cent. in the flower-buds. It is used in soap-making and perfumery extensively, and also in medicine, especially for tooth-ache.