from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A tropical evergreen tree (Cinnamomum aromaticum syn. C. cassia) of East and Southeast Asia, having aromatic inner bark.
  • noun The bark of this tree, often ground and used as a spice. It is the chief source of cinnamon in the United States.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun the bark of Cinnamomum cassia, etc. The coarser kinds are called Cassia lignea, and are often used to adulterate true cinnamon.
  • noun the dried flower buds of several species of cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia, atc..).
  • noun oil extracted from cassia bark and cassia buds; -- called also oil of cinnamon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun Chinese tree with aromatic bark; yields a less desirable cinnamon than Ceylon cinnamon
  • noun some genus Cassia species often classified as members of the genus Senna or genus Chamaecrista
  • noun 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 casia, cassia, aromatic tree of the genus Cinnamomum, from Greek kasiā, kassiā, probably of Phoenician origin; akin to Hebrew qəṣīyâ, tree of the genus Cinnamomum yielding a spice inferior to cinnamon, probably ultimately of Chinese origin.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word cassia.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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

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

    December 6, 2007

  • how interesting!

    December 6, 2007

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

    November 28, 2017