Saigon cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia and Quế Trà My or Quế Thanh or " Quế Trà Bồng" in Vietnam) is an evergreen tree in the genus Cinnamomum, indigenous to mainland Southeast Asia. Despite its name, it is more closely related to cassia (C. cassia) than to cinnamon (C. verum, “true cinnamon”, Ceylon cinnamon), though in the same genus as both. Saigon cinnamon has 1-5% essential oil in content and 25% cinnamaldehyde in essential oil, which is the highest of all the cinnamon species. Consequently, out of the three species, it commands the highest price.
The scientific name was originally spelled as Cinnamomum loureirii, but because the species is named after the botanist João de Loureiro, this is to be treated under the ICN as an orthographic error for the correctly derived spelling of loureiroi.
Production and uses
Saigon cinnamon is produced primarily in Vietnam, both for domestic use and export. The Vietnam War disrupted production, but since the beginning of the early 21st century Vietnam has resumed export of the spice, including to the United States, where it was unavailable for nearly 20 years. Although it is called Saigon cinnamon, it is not produced in the area around the southern city of Saigon, but instead in the central and Central Highlands regions of the country, particularly the Quảng Ngai Province of central Vietnam.
- Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.) page from Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages