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Grains of Paradise

Zingiberaceae Amomum sp.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

Grains of paradise are the aromatic, pungent seeds of species of Amonum, native to western Africa. The plants are tropical perennials, spreading by rhizomes and forming dense clumps. Plants attain heights of 4 to 5 feet, with lanceolate, glabrous leaves up to 9 inches long. Seeds are borne in ovoid or flask-shaped, pubescent capsules 2 to 3 inches long. Seeds were formerly used as a substitute or adulterant of pepper. Now they are sometimes used in wine, beer, spirits and vinegars. They are not produced, so far as known, in the U.S.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch