Skip to Content


« Back to Glossary Index

Allspice is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant.
– Fruits are picked green and unripe, then dried in the sun.
– Dried fruits resemble large peppercorns.
– Fresh leaves are similar to bay leaves and used in cooking.
– Leaves and wood are used for smoking meats.

– Key ingredient in Jamaican cuisine and jerk seasoning.
Allspice liqueur produced in the West Indies.
– Used in Middle Eastern cuisine for stews and meat dishes.
– Common in Northern European and North American cooking.
– Essential in Polish, Swedish, Finnish, British, and Portuguese cuisines.

Cultivation, trade, and origin:
Allspice tree can reach 10-18m in height.
– Originally found in Jamaica, now grown in Tonga, Hawaii, and other regions.
– Birds spread seeds, aiding in its proliferation.
Allspice became part of European diets after Columbus’ voyages.
– Jamaica is the primary source of allspice globally.

See also:
– Mixed spice.

– Outside Jamaica, “pimento” typically refers to a sweet pepper.

– Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and IUCN Red List.
– The Plant List.
– Resources documenting the usage and cultivation of allspice.

Allspice (Wikipedia)

Allspice, also known as Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or pimento, is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, a midcanopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world. The name allspice was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who valued it as a spice that combined the flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

Illustration of twig, flowers, and fruits
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Pimenta
P. dioica
Binomial name
Pimenta dioica
    • Caryophyllus pimenta (L.) Mill.
    • Eugenia micrantha Bertol.
    • Eugenia pimenta (L.) DC.
    • Evanesca crassifolia Raf. nom. illeg.
    • Evanesca micrantha Bertol.
    • Myrtus aromatica Poir. nom. illeg.
    • Myrtus aromatica Salisb. nom. illeg.
    • Myrtus dioica L.
    • Myrtus pimenta L.
    • Myrtus piperita Sessé & Moc.
    • Pimenta aromatica Kostel. nom. illeg.
    • Pimenta communis Benth. & Hook.f.
    • Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
    • Pimenta pimenta (L.) H.Karst. nom. inval.
    • Pimenta vulgaris Bello
    • Pimenta vulgaris Lindl.
    • Pimentus aromatica Raf. nom. illeg.
    • Pimentus geminata Raf.
    • Pimentus vera Raf. nom. illeg.
Piment flower
Piment flower in Uaxactún, north of Tikal National Park, Guatemala

Several unrelated fragrant shrubs are called "Carolina allspice" (Calycanthus floridus), "Japanese allspice" (Chimonanthus praecox), or "wild allspice" (Lindera benzoin).

« Back to Glossary Index