from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various chiefly tropical or subtropical trees, shrubs, or herbs of the genus Cassia in the pea family, having pinnately compound leaves, usually yellow flowers, and long, flat or cylindrical pods.
  • n. A tropical Asian evergreen tree (Cinnamomum cassia) having aromatic bark used as a substitute for cinnamon.
  • n. The bark of this tree.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several tropical leguminous plants, of the genus Cassia, used medicinally as senna.
  • n. A spice (similar to cinnamon) made from the bark of the Chinese cinnamon, Cinnamomum aromaticum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of leguminous plants (herbs, shrubs, or trees) of many species, most of which have purgative qualities. The leaves of several species furnish the senna used in medicine.
  • n. The bark of several species of Cinnamomum grown in China, etc.; Chinese cinnamon. It is imported as cassia, but commonly sold as cinnamon, from which it differs more or less in strength and flavor, and the amount of outer bark attached.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See Cassia.
  • n. A very large genus of leguminous herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical or warm regions.
  • n. [lowercase] The cinnamon cassia, wild cassia, or cassia-bark. See cassia-lignea.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. Chinese tree with aromatic bark; yields a less desirable cinnamon than Ceylon cinnamon
  • n. some genus Cassia species often classified as members of the genus Senna or genus Chamaecrista
  • n. any of various trees or shrubs of the genus Cassia having pinnately compound leaves and usually yellow flowers followed by long seedpods


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Latin, a kind of plant, from Greek kasiā, kassiā, probably of Phoenician origin; akin to Hebrew qəṣīyâ, probably ultimately of Chinese origin.



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  • Usage/note on galbanum. Another, re: how to tell if it's fresh, on gum arabic.

    November 28, 2017

  • how interesting!

    December 6, 2007

  • Not to be confused (as I just did) with cassis, which is French for blackcurrant.

    December 6, 2007

  • Wikipedia sez:

    "Most of the spice sold as cinnamon in the United States and Canada (where true cinnamon is still generally unknown) is actually cassia. In some cases, cassia is labeled "Chinese cinnamon" to distinguish it from the more expensive true cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), which is the preferred form of the spice used in Mexico and Europe. "Indonesian cinnamon" can also refer to Cinnamomum burmannii, which is also commonly sold in the United States, labeled only as cinnamon."

    So, that makes cassia the Poor Man's Cinnamon. Cinnamon's Red-Headed Stepchild.

    *wants to taste REAL cinnamon*

    December 6, 2007