Nigella is a genus of about 14 species of annual plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to southern Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia. Common names applied to members of this genus are Devil-in-a-bush or Love in the mist.
The species grow to 20-90 cm tall, with finely divided leaves, the leaf segments narrowly linear to threadlike. The flowers are white, yellow, pink, pale blue or pale purple, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a capsule composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds; in some species (e.g. Nigella damascena), the capsule is large and inflated. Spread some in your yard, and it will reseed itself every year.
The seeds of N. sativa, known as kalonji, black cumin (though this can also refer to Bunium persicum) or just nigella, are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The dry roasted nigella seeds flavor curries, vegetables and pulses. The black seeds taste like oregano and have a bitterness to them like mustard-seeds. Most people use it as a "pepper" in recipes with pod fruit, vegetables, salads and poultry.
Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens, popular for their seed capsules, which are used in dried flower arrangements. Love in the mist are used exclusively for dried arrangements. These flowers are the best to add texture to any dried flower arrangement. The delicate, purple striped pods are used in several arrangements for an airy effect.
In India the seeds are used as a carminative and stimulant to ease bowel and indigestion problems and are given to treat intestinal worms and nerve defects to reduce flatulence, and induce sweating. Dried pods are sniffed to restore a lost sense of smell. It is also used to repel some insects, much like mothballs.
Nigella seeds can also be used to soothe and clear the sinus.
Nigella damascena (Love-in-a-mist) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).
It is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia. It is also commonly grown in gardens in North America. It is found on neglected, damp patches of land.
The plant's common name comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It's also sometimes called Devil in the Bush or Devil-in-a-cage.
It grows to 20-50 cm tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves.
The flowers are white, pink, pale purple or different shades of blue with 5-10 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed. The sepals are the only colored part of the perianth. The 4-5 carpels of the compound pistil have each an erect style. The flowers blossom in May and June.
The fruit is a large and inflated capsule, growing from a compound ovary, and is composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. This is rather exceptional for a member of the buttercup family. The capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.
They are much used in dried flower bouquets.
Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. It grows to 20–30 cm tall, with finely divided, linear (but not thread-like) leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with 5–10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3–7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seed is used as a spice.
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