Cassia and Cinnamon
Cassia and cinnamon are derived from closely related plants, Cinnamomum aromaticum (cassia bark); and C. zelandicum (commercial source of the spice, cinnamon). Cinnamon is a well-known spice used throughout the world and is derived from the bark of the young stems of C. zeylandicum, native to the Far East. Leaves are dark green and shiny and the flowers are small and inconspicuous. The bark is stripped, dried, and then ground to make cinnamon. Cassia, on the other hand, is a considered a lower quality spice. An oil is derived through steam distillation of the leaves of C. aromaticum. The fragrance is strong and penetrating. Cassia is not frequently used today but was apparently a highly valued commodity in Bible times. For example, it is mentioned as one of the trade items of Tyre in Ezekiel 27. In Psalm 45, the King's garments are anointed with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. The aloes here are different from those in the New Testament (John 19:39) and were also probably fragrant plants.
Cinnamon and Cassia References