Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of an evergreen tree, Syzygium aromatic, native to eastern Indonesia. The clove tree grows up to 30 feet tall, with flowers grouped in clusters at the ends of branches. Cloves are ready for harvest when the flower buds take on a pinkish hue just before they blossom. Cloves consist of a long calyx that terminates in four spreading sepals and four unopened petals that form a small central ball. Cloves contain a large amount of essential oil that is used in medicine. When of good quality they are fat, oily, and dark brown in color, and give out their oil when squeezed. When they are pale in color or dry, they are of inferior quality and yield little oil.
Cloves are commercially harvested primarily in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar and Sri Lanka.