Pimenta racemosa, Caryophyllus racemosus
Bay Rum Tree
Origin: West Indies
big tree, small tree 10-20 ft, full sun, semi-shade, regular water
This is a small sized tree related to the Allspice, with leaves
containing and aromatic oil that somewhat resembles clove oil. This
essential oil is distilled from the leaves and is used in perfumes.
A type of cologne named 'Bay Rum' was historically made in the early
20th century by distilling the oil using rum and water, hence the
common name of the plant. The cologne has its spicy notes from the
bay and its smoky, woody tones from the rum aged in casks. The
essential oil of bay rum has two distinct fractions upon
distillation. The first fraction distills out quickly and is a light
weight oil that floats on water. The second fraction distills more
slowly and is a heavy weight oil that sinks in water. The two oils
are recombined to make oleum pimentae foliorum, or 'oil of pimento
Bay Rum inflorescence has small white flowers resembling tiny
bouquets of sparkly cotton candy. They are followed by a small black
ovoid fruit. The fruit is not edible, the bay rum (used for cologne)
and essential oil itself are toxic and should not be ingested.
However, leaves of Pimenta racemosa can be used in cooking and tea.
For generations, Bay Rum has been used in folk medicine for sore
muscles, strains, and sprains. Later it was discovered that the
essential oil contains a diterpene that has anti-bacterial
If you are looking for a slow-growing, columnar tree with a
mature height of 20 ft, the Bay Rum, a magical charmer with healing
properties, is the best choice. If you rub the leaves, the fragrance
will linger with you all day, the plant will never run out of
Plant care and hardiness is similar to Allspice. Grow this tree
in full sun or light shade, and provide regular watering.
Pimenta racemosa var. citrfolia "Lemon Scent" (Lemon Bay Rum
Tree, Citrus Bay) is a hard-to-find variety. All plant parts have
strong lemon scent, very pleasant and relaxing. This cultivar can be
propagated from seeds, but only 10-20 percent of the seedlings come
true to type, others come out as regular Bay Rum; cuttings are hard
to root. The Citrus Bay plants seem to be much hardier than regular
Bay Rum and have better resistance to leaf fungus.