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Bushy evergreen tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) of the laurel family. Native to Sri Lanka, India, and Burma, cinnamon is also cultivated in South America and the West Indies for the spice consisting of its dried inner bark. The light-brown spice has a delicately fragrant aroma and warm, sweet flavor. It was once more valuable than gold. Today cinnamon is used to flavor various foods. In Europe and the U.S. it is especially popular in bakery goods. The oil is distilled from bark fragments for use in food, liqueur, perfume, and drugs.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cinnamon, visit Britannica.com.