This common tree is not the spice bearing plant, but Columbus thought he had reached the Far East and by the sweet odour of the bark and leaves, thought he had found cinnamon, hence this misnomer. The tree is evergreen which shows red berries in winter, so is often used as a Christmas decoration. The dried berries can be used like black pepper. The wood is very hard and close-grained, so was ideal in the making of caulking hammers for boat building and other construction. The leaves were boiled to make an insecticide and as a fish poison. Fresh leaves were placed under mattresses to ward off bed bugs.
Special thanks to the late Desmond Nicholson of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and Peter Duce for making this section of Antigua Nice Ltd possible!