SPICES are vegetable products such as leaves, flowers, seeds and roots that are rich in essential oils and aromatic principles. They are used mainly as condiments.

The FAO definitions include ten spices. For practical reasons, spices are considered to be primary crops. The code and name of each is listed below, along with its botanical name, or names, and a short description. Production data of spices should be reported in terms of ripe, dried or powdered products.

Essential oils extracted from spices are included under FAO code 0753 in Chapter 13., along with other essential oils.


0687 PEPPER black, white pepper (Piper nigrum); long pepper (P. longum) Perennial climbing vines. Includes whole, crushed or ground berries. Black pepper is produced from partially ripe berries, while white pepper is from fully ripe berries which have had the outer hull removed.
0689 PIMENTO red and cayenne pepper, paprika, chillies (Capsicum frutescens; C. annuum); allspice, Jamaica pepper (Pimenta officinalis) Uncrushed or unground fresh pimentos are considered to be vegetables. See Chapter 7.
0692 VANILLA Vanilla planifolia; V. pompona The fruit (or bean) of a climbing plant of the orchid family. Includes whole, crushed or ground.
0693 CINNAMON (CANELLA) Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum); Chinese, common cinnamon, cassia (C. cassia) The inner bark of young branches of certain trees of the Laurus family. Includes cinnamon- tree flowers, cinnamon fruit and cinnamon waste (chips), whether whole, crushed or ground.
0698 CLOVES Eugenia caryophyllata; Caryophyllus aromaticus The whole fruit of the clove tree, including the flowers picked before maturity and dried in the sun, and the stems of the clove flowers.
0702 NUTMEG, MACE, CARDAMONS nutmeg, mace (Myristica fragrans); cluster cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum); other cardamons (Aframomum angustifolium; A. hambury; Amomun aromaticum; A. cardamomum); Malaguetta pepper, grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) Nutmeg is the inner brown kernel of the fruit of the nutmeg tree. Mace is the net-like membrane between the outer shell and the kernel. Cardamon seeds are enclosed in the capsule produced by perennial herbs of the Zingiberaceae family.
0711 ANISE, BADIAN, FENNEL Include: anise (Pimpinella anisum); badian or star anise (Illicium verum); caraway (Carum carvi); coriander (Coriandrum sativum); cumin (Cuminum cyminum); fennel (Foeniculum vulgare); juniper berries (Juniperus communis) Seeds and berries from the various plants listed. They are normally used as spices, but also have industrial (e.g. in distilleries) and medicinal applications.
0720 GINGER Zingiber officinale Rhizome of a perennial herb. It also is used for making beverages. Includes fresh, provisionally preserved or dried, whereas ginger preserved in sugar or syrup is excluded.
0723 SPICES NES Including inter alia: bay leaves (Laurus nobilis); dill seed (Anethum graveolens); fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum); saffron (Crocus sativus); thyme (Thymus vulgaris); turmeric (Curcuma longa) Other spices that are not identified separately because of their minor relevance at the international level. Because of their limited local importance, some countries report spices under this heading that are classified individually by FAO. This heading also includes curry powder and other mixtures of different spices.

© FAO 1994

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