by Sheri Ann Richerson

Few of us ever think about where cinnamon comes from, but can you imagine walking down a street lined with Cinnamon Trees? That's everyday life for those who live in the Islands of Malaya. Native to India, Malaya, Ceylon, China, Japan and Taiwan, depending on the exact species, are as common to
them as some of our native trees are to us.

Ceylon cinnamon quills The Cinnamomum zeylanicum, is the source of the cinnamon we commonly buy.  This tree grows up to thirty feet tall bearing ovate-lanceolate leaves that are four to seven inches long. However, the panicles of yellowish flowers are often longer than the leaves, and bear pointed black fruits from which oil is extracted. The cinnamon sticks we commonly buy are made from the bark of the tree, and are rolled naturally by being sun-dried.

Cinnamomums prefer deep, well-drained, moist soil in order to perform their best. They hate root disturbance and should be grown in one container until they are put in their permanent place. I have tried to propagate Cinnamomum zeylanicum myself which I acquired from B & T World Seeds. The attempt was unsuccessful, although that is the most common form of propagation. Another more difficult method of propagation is by rooting cuttings. My understanding of this process is that they must be under mist, and in a propagation bed in a greenhouse. I also have been told that the success rate is very low with this method, but giving my previous experience with seeds, I'd try the cuttings!

Branch of cinnamon tree If you are looking for a source of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Glasshouse Works tells me they carry them occasionally, but they sell out quickly and they will not put anyone on a waiting list due to the difficulty of propagation. This is the only source I have been able to locate. If you know of one, please share it with our readers in the forum below or e-mail me with it so I can pass it on.

I would love to hear from anyone who has grown this plant.

Even if you can't grow your own cinnamon, you can use store bought cinnamon in recipes and potpourris. For potpourri, I would strongly recommend the stick cinnamon. It is prettier and far less messy. A cinnamon essential oil is another way to add a cinnamon scent to your home.


I have a recipe for a "Spiced Apple Cake" that I would like to share with you. It is from "Scented Treasures, Aromatic Gifts From The Kitchen &  Garden" by Stephanie Donaldson.

1 cup applesauce
cup unsalted butter
1 cup demerata sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour (half whole wheat/half white)
2 teaspoons baking powder
cup raisins
cup sultanas
1 cup walnuts (chopped)
teaspoon salt
teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon nutmeg
Bake in an 8 inch ring pan.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, add the eggs, one at a time. Sift together the flour, spices and baking powder. Toss the fruit and nuts in 1 tablespoon of flour. Gradually add the flour mixture and applesauce alternately to the sugar/butter/egg mix. Fold in the dried fruit and nuts.

Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until you can insert a pick and it comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

I hope you will try this recipe at home and enjoy it. It sure does sound delicious!

Sheri Ann Richerson has over 22 years experience in newspaper, magazine and creative writing styles. She is an on-line freelance writer for Beyond Infinity. She also writes for, SharingTV and is a contributing editor for Suite101 and WebSeed Publishing. Sheri is a lifetime member of the International Thespian Society. She has also written for TerraViva Organics,  Imprint Magazine and Information Partners, in addition to other publications.  Her favorite pastimes are riding her motorcycle, horseback riding and gardening. She mostly grows herbs and tropical plants.
Her range of writing expertise has included astrology, herbs, aromatheraphy as well as tropical and exotic plants. She also wrote an addition on "Medicinal Astrology" for Llewellyn's 2002 Moon Sign Book and will be writing an addition on "Preparing An Herbal Meal For The One You Love" for Llwellyn's 2003 Herbal Almanac.
She lives in Indiana.

The Cinnamon pictures are from Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages, a remarkable site, well worth visiting

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