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The tree grows well in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrallitisation ferralitic] tropical soil and usually gets between 10 and 12 metres but can get as tall as 20 metres.
The plant flowers for the first time after 8-10 years and the trees are fully flowering at around 20 years. Cloves are the nail-like spikes which are unopened flower-buds. The name derives from the Latin word ''clavus'', meaning nail. in Branches of clustered flower-buds are removed from the stems, then handpicked and sun-dried. Clove harvesting in Madagascar takes place between October and March.<!-- fact-check-->