Botanical name of small cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum. It is popularly known as queen of spices. Small cardamom, which is used as spice, is in fact a dried fruit of a tall perennial herbaceous plant. India is a major producer, consumer and exporter of small cardamom. In India, small cardamom is mainly cultivated in Kerala (60%), Karnataka (30%) and Tamil Nadu (10%). Small cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world.
It is one of the most highly priced and exotic spices in the world. It is a perennial tropical herb plant belonging to the ginger family (Zingibaraceae) and grows from a thick rootstalk up to around 6-10 feet. It is indigenously grown in the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats in South India.
Commercially cultivated varieties of small cardamom are Mudigere 1, PV 1, CCS 1 and SKP 14 (for Karnataka) and ICRI 1 and ICRI 2 for Kerala and Tamil Nadu.