Monographs Details: Amomis caryophyllata (Jacq.) Krug & Urb.
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Bay Rum is a commercial perfume obtained by mixing oil of bay, obtained by distillation from the leaves of this evergreen tree, with rum. Various other commercial mixtures with alcohol constitute other perfumes, used as substitutes, and several of these are produced in Porto Rico, known as alcolados. The dark, hard, mottled wood is durable and tough. The tree is distributed nearly throughout the West Indies, except Jamaica and the Bahama Islands, and ranges southward into northern South America; it consists of many races differing in the amount and quality of the oil contained, in the shape, size and color of the leaves, and the shape of the berries. In Porto Rico it mostly inhabits hillsides at lower and middle elevations in moist districts, growing also on Vieques Island. The Spanish names Ausu and Guayavita, and the English name Wild Cinnamon are also used for it.
Amomis, a genus of only 3 species, was established by the German pharmacist Berg in 1855, the significance of the name not cited. They are aromatic trees, with thick, punctate, broad, un-toothed leaves, and small, white flowers in stalked, loose, axillary clusters. The calyx, attached to the ovary, has 5, spreading lobes, and there are 5 petals; the many stamens have very slender filaments; the 2-celled ovary has few ovules in each cavity; the style is short, the stigma a little oblique. The fruit is a few-seeded berry, the embryo of the seed spiral.
Amomis caryophyllata (odor similar to that of Cloves) may become about 15 meters high, with a trunk 0.6 meter in diameter, but is usually smaller; the twigs are angled and glandular, the leaves and flower-clusters nearly or quite smooth. The elliptic to obovate, leathery, bright green leaves, sometimes partly in-rolled, are from 5 to 15 centimeters long, finely many-veined and reticulated, their stalks 5 to 15 millimeters long. The flower-clusters are longer than the leaves; the calyx-lobes are pointed, the rounded petals about 4 millimeters long. The oval or obovoid berries are from 8 to 10 millimeters long.
Amomis grisea, also Porto Rican, known as Limoncillo and Cinnamon Bush, has whitish-hairy leaves and flower-clusters.
Bay Rum Tree
Myrtus caryophyllata Jacquin, Observationes 2: 1. 1767.
Myrtus acris Swartz, Prodromus Flora Indiae Occidentalis 70. 1788.
Amomis caryophyllata Krug and Urban, Botanischer Jahrbucher 19:573.1895.