Cloves are the immature unopened flower buds of a tropical tree native to the spice islands of Indonesia. The tree is an evergreen perennial that often reaches heights of 8 – 12 metres, with a grayish bark, elliptical leaves with complete edges and flowers maturing from pale pink to bright red. The flower buds are dried to become cloves, and turn a rust-brown colour measuring 12-16 millimetres long, resembling small nails with a tapered stem. The large end of the clove is the four-pointed flower bud. It is now cultivated widely in the tropics, best near the sea, ranging from Brazil to the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka. They have historically been used in Indian, North African and Middle Eastern cuisines as a robust, strong spice imparting a warm, pungent and aromatic scent and flavour.