Black Cumin (Bunium persicum)



Black cumin is the dried fruit of Bunium persicum, a plant in the family Apiaceae. Black cumin is used as a culinary spice in Northern India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Iran. It is known locally as Kala Jeera (black cumin) or shahi jeera (imperial cumin) in Hindi, and zireh kuhi (wild cumin) in Persian. It should not be confused with the unrelated Nigella sativa which is also called black cumin.

Bunium persicum grows in wild from southeastern Europe east to southern Asia. It can grow up to 60 cm tall and 25 cm wide, with frilly leaves and hermaphroditic flowers which are self-fertile and also pollinated by insects.

Apart from the seeds which are used as a spice, the small, rounded taproot is edible raw or cooked, and the taste is said to be like sweet chestnuts. The frilly leaves can be used as a herb or as garnish.

Black cuminBlack cumin
Author: Badagnani (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Close up of black cuminClose up of black cumin
Author: Sanjay Acharya (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

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