Elwendia persica

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Elwendia persica
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Elwendia
E. persica
Binomial name
Elwendia persica
(Boiss.) Pimenov & Kljuykov
  • Bunium persicum (Boiss.) B.Fedtsch.
  • Carum heterophyllum Regel & Schmalh.
  • Carum persicum Boiss.
  • Pimpinella cyminosma (Basiner) Koso-Pol.
  • Sium cyminosma Basiner

Elwendia persica is a plant species in the family Apiaceae.[1][2] It is related to cumin (Cuminum cyminum) and sometimes called black cumin[citation needed], blackseed,[citation needed], black caraway,[citation needed] and has a smoky, earthy taste. It is often confused with Nigella sativa (which is also called black cumin,[3] blackseed,[citation needed] and black caraway[3]), by which it is often substituted in cooking.

Dried E. persica fruits are used as a culinary spice in northern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. It is practically unknown outside these areas.[citation needed]


Black cumin

Local names for that spice are kala zeera (काला ज़ीरा black cumin) or shahi zeera (शाहि ज़ीरा; imperial cumin) in Hindi, as syah zirah (سیاہ زیرہ; black cumin), kaala zirah (کالا زیرہ; black cumin), and zirah kuhi (زيره كوهی; mountain/wild cumin) in Urdu, zireh kuhi (زيره كوهی; wild cumin) in Persian, and siyoh dona (сиёх дона; black seed) in Tajiki, and in Malayalam sahajīrakaṁ (സഹജീരകം).[citation needed]

The commonly used Hindi term shahi zeera may be a distortion of syahi (black in Persian) zeera. However, in the Hindustani language, the term syahi also means "inky black". In Bengali, kalo zeera also means black cumin, but refers to Nigella, not E. persica. Nigella is widely used as a spice in Bengali food.[citation needed]


The plant bears slender, elongate, ribbed fruits which are harvested once the plant has become very dry. Not more than 5 to 8 g can be plucked from each plant, contributing to the high price of $2 per 10 g (1987 rates).

The seeds are most valued as a garnish to high value, very special Indian dishes; they should not be ground, as their flavour would be reduced.


  1. ^ "Elwendia persica (Boiss.) Pimenov & Kljuykov". Plants of the World Online. The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. n.d. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "Elwendia persica (Boiss.) Pimenov & Kljuykov". Global Diversity Information Facility. GBIF Secretariat. n.d. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Bunium persicum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-03-13.

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