Cinnamomum verum, called true cinnamon tree or Ceylon cinnamon tree is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka. Among other species, its inner bark is used to make cinnamon.
The old botanical synonym for the tree—Cinnamomum zeylanicum—is derived from Sri Lanka's former name, Ceylon. Sri Lanka still produces 80–90% of the world's supply of Cinnamomum verum, which is also cultivated on a commercial scale in the Seychelles and Madagascar.
Cinnamomum verum trees are 10–15 metres (30–50 feet) tall. The leaves are ovate-oblong in shape and 7–18 cm (3–7 inches) long. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color and a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple 1-cm drupe containing a single seed.
Used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savoury dishes, breakfast cereals, snackfoods, and traditional foods, the aroma and flavor of cinnamon derive from its essential oil and principal component, cinnamaldehyde, as well as numerous other constituents, including eugenol.
It is used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico. Cinnamon is often used in savoury dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals, bread-based dishes, such as toast, and fruits, especially apples; a cinnamon-sugar mixture is sold separately for such purposes. It is also used in Turkish cuisine for both sweet and savoury dishes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling and Christmas drinks such as eggnog.