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Bunium persicum or black cumin is a plant in the family Apiaceae. Dried B. persicum fruits are used as a culinary spice in Northern Indiamarker, Afghanistanmarker, Tajikistanmarker and Iranmarker. Local names for that spice are Kala Jeera (kala jeera, meaning "black cumin") or shahi jeera (meaning "imperial cumin") in Hindi, as زيره كوهی ("zireh kuhi", meaning "wild cumin") in Persian and as сиёх дона ("siyoh dona" meaning "black seed") in Tajiki. It is practically unknown outside these areas, and is not to be confused with the unrelated Nigella sativa which is also often called black cumin.

Etymology

In Bengali, kalo jeera also means black cumin, but refers to Nigella, not Bunium persicum. Nigella is widely used as a spice in Bengali food, while B. persicum is rare.

Growth

The plant grows wild in a wide range from southeastern Europe east to southern Asia. It reaches about tall and wide, bearing frilly leaves and hermaphroditic flowers, pollinated by insects and self-fertile.

Uses

Food uses

The small, rounded taproot is edible raw or cooked, and said to taste like sweet chestnuts.

Medicinal uses

The leaf can be used as a herb or garnish similar to parsley.

Distinction

Authorities differ on whether this is the same plant as Bunium bulbocastanum, with similar characteristics and uses.

References



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