Cardamom, often dubbed as the "grains of paradise" is a pungent, aromatic herb which is very versatile. It is also the second most important national spice of India (the first being black pepper), known as the "Queen of Spices. Cardamom is one of the world's very ancient spices. Cardamom grows as a perennial herb with thick, fleshy rhizomes or underground stems shooting leafy roots with leafy stems. It has very large leaves, white or pale green, many seeded pale green to yellow fruits and triangular brownish black seeds. They have a pleasant aroma with warm pungent taste. Green cardamom pods are harder to find and more expensive in part because of their superior ability to retain aroma and flavor longer.