Cardamom (or cardamon) refers to several plants of the similar genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India, Nepal and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery, outer shell and small black seeds.
Guatemala is the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India. 'Elettaria' pods are light green while 'Amomum' pods are larger and dark brown. Both forms of cardamom are used as flavorings in food and drink, as a cooking spice and as medicine. 'E. cardamomum' the most common form of is used as a spice, a masticatory, and in medicine; it is also smoked sometimes.