Elwendia persica

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Elwendia persica
Scientific classification
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]


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

Black cumin


The plant bears small-sized seeds and one can pluck them once the plant is 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 flavor 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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