Bay Rum (Pimenta racemosa)

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If you longed for a scratch-and-sniff tree, the Bay Rum tree makes for a perfect pick! Just crush their leaves to release the tree’s characteristic clove and cinnamon perfume. These oils are distilled into tonics for many beneficial effects (especially aroma therapy). It was popularized as a cologne called ‘Bay Rum’ in the early 20th century from a distillation of the oil by means of rum and water. The Caribbean evergreen fruit tree has a close Myrtaceae family relative, Allspice, with similar aromatic properties as well. 

Aesthetically, the Bay Rum Tree makes a great ornamental addition. It grows upright with smooth, peeling grey-to-brown bark branching into compact canopies of 20 ft. tall at maturity.  Their fragrant leaves begin red and develop into stiff, leathery, and glossy dark green topped leaves with dull undersides. Its spring blossoms cluster into sparkling white, fragrant bundles and soon evolve to inedible black ovoid fruit. 

The Bay Rum Tree is relatively tolerant of drought and can handle moderate amounts of salt and wind as well. Albeit the fruits and essential oils are inedible, the leaves have been used for teas and culinary accompaniments. Use it for sore muscles or strains. Distill it for antibacterial properties. Crush its leaves and enjoy the scent all day. Find out your favorite use for the Bay Rum Tree!

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