Nigella sativa (Black Cumin)

Scientific Name

Nigella sativa L.

Common Names

Fennel Flower, Nutmeg Flower, Black Caraway, Roman Coriander, Black Cumin, Nigella


Nigella cretica

Scientific Classification

Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribe: Nigelleae
Genus: Nigella


Color: Pale blue and white
Bloom Time: July


Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant with linear finely divided leaves. It grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. Flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and usually colored pale blue and white. It is in bloom in July, and the seeds ripen in September. Fruits are large and inflated capsules composed of three to seven united follicles, each containing numerous seeds.

Nigella sativa - Black Cumin


It is grown as an annual plant, so it has no USDA hardiness zone.

How to Grow and Care

Plant Nigella sativa seeds when no risk of frost exists. Sprouts appear in one to two weeks and flowers in about two to three months later.

Test the soil pH with a home kit two to three months before the desired planting date to verify the pH is slightly acidic with a value of 6.0 to 7.0. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil to lower the pH if needed. Follow the package application rate based on the current pH.

Let the soil rest for two to three months to give the amendment time to change the pH. Work 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of organic compost into the planting area to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm). Compost increases the nutrient value of the soil and is a natural fertilizer.

Sprinkle the Nigella sativa seeds lightly over the planting area. Sprinkle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (8 to 13 mm) of soil over the seeds. Pat the soil gently to hold the seeds in place. See more at How to Grow and Care for Nigella sativa.


Native to Iraq and Turkey.


BACK TO genus Nigella
PLANTOPEDIA: Browse flowering plants by Scientific Name, Common NameGenusFamily, or Origin

Photo Gallery

Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.

We participate in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliate sites.