This small tree takes its name from the spicy fragrance of its crushed leaves. Cinnamon bark is a small somewhat shrubby tree reaching 15 feet in height; it has a straight trunk and with age develops a dense crown. It has a thin bark, light gray in color and sometimes fissured. Leaves are dark green and leathery, obovate in shape, with smooth margins and borne alternately or clustered toward the branch tips, measuring 4 x 1 1/2 inches. Flowers are arranged on an inflorescence , blooms are small, about 1/2 inch wide, with red petals and yellow anthers, mildly fragrant and rich in nectar, attracting insects, including wasps. The fruit is about 3/8 inch in diameter, purple-red at maturity with black seeds, used for propagation. The fruits attract birds. The bark, fruits and leaves are used in herbal medicine. In cultivation, the tree does well in well-drained high ph soils. It requires very little pruning; the major reported pest is thrips. Cinnamon bark is a handsome ornamental tree because of its attractive leaves, flowers and fruits, and suitable for the garden, patio, along the seaside and streets. The tree is endangered in the wild in florida where it should be protected.
Closeup Photo Credit: Alan, Flickr