The black seed is a herbaceous plant, black cumin seed (botanical name is nigella sativa l.), or black seed for short, is believed to be indigenous to the Mediterranean region but has been cultivated into other parts of the world including the Arabian peninsula, northern Africa and parts of Asia.
The plant has no relation to the common kitchen herb, cumin. Tiny and hairy, being no more than 3mm in length, black seed originates from the common fennel flower plant (nigella sativa) of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family. Nigella sativa is sometimes mistakenly confused with the fennel herb plant (Foeniculum vulgare). The plant has finely divided foliage and pale bluish purple or white flowers.
The flowers grow terminally on its branches while the leaves grow opposite each other in pairs, on either side of the stem. Its lower leaves are small and petioled, and the upper leaves are long (6-10cm). the stalk of the plant reaches a height of twelve to eighteen inches as its fruit, the black seed, matures. Nigella sativa is bisexual and forms a fruit capsule which consists of many white triagonal seeds. Once the fruit capsule has matured, it opens up and the seeds contained within are exposed to the air, becoming black in color (black seeds). Nigella sativa and its black seed are known by other names, varying between places. some call it black caraway, habbat al barakah , and habbat sawda , others call it black cumin (kalounji), onion seeds or even coriander seeds. in English, the nigella sativa plant is commonly referred to as black cumin . Nevertheless, this is nigella sativa, which has been known and used from ancient times and is also known in Persian as Shonaiz.
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