Lauraceae Cinnamomum cassia Blume
Source: Magness et al. 1971
The tree is a tropical evergreen, reaching up to 50 feet, with thick, oblong leaves 3 to 6 inches long. The trees are hardy in the Gulf States in the U.S., but commercial cassia and cassia buds are not produced. The cassia of commerce, quite similar to cinnamon, is the ground, dried bark of the tree; while cassia buds are the dried, immature fruits harvested when about one-fourth their full size. They resemble cloves, but are smaller. The buds are used as a spice, mainly in confections, while the powdered bark is used in cookery, often as a substitute for cinnamon, which is more expensive.