Nigella arvensis Linn. Ranunculaceae. Wild Fennel.
Europe, Mediterranean region and the Orient. The seeds are used as those of N. sativa as are also the leaves.
Nigella damascena Linn. Wild Fennel.
Mediterranean region. This species is grown in Turkey for its seeds, which are used as a condiment.
Nigella sativa Linn. Black Cumin. Fennel Flower. Nigella. Nutmeg Flower. Roman Coriander.
East Mediterranean and Taurus-Caspian countries and cultivated in various parts of the world. The seeds are employed in some parts of Germany, France and Asia as a condiment. In eastern countries they are commonly used for seasoning curries and other dishes, and the Egyptians spread them on bread and put them on cakes like comfits. The seeds, on account of their aromatic nature, are employed as a spice in cooking, particularly in Italy and southern France. This plant is supposed to be the gith of Columella and Pliny, in the first century; of Palladius, in the third and of Charlemagne, in the ninth. The melanthion of Columella, in the first century, seems a descriptive name for his gith. Black cumin finds mention as cultivated in most of the botanies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; is recorded by Vilmorin among plants of the garden, as also by Burr in 1863; and is now found in the lists of some of our seedsmen.