Black Cumin

Black cumin

Scientific name: Nigella sativa L.

Synonym: Nigella indica Roxb.

Local name: কালঝিরা (‘Kala-jeera’, ‘Mugrala’)

Taxonomic Position Aaccording to Cronquist (1988)

SpeciesN. sativa

Botanical Description of Black Cumin

Habit: Nigella is an erect annual herb

Black cumin

Roots: It has well developed yellow- brown tap root, producing many secondary and tertiary roots.

Stems: The stem up to 70 cm, is profusely branched, subterete, ribbed, often becoming hollw with age, puberulous and light to dark green

Leaves: The leaves are alternate and extipulate, the petiole 1-6 cm, present only on basal leaves. The blade is 7 x 5 cm, pinnately dissected into thin sublinear lobes usually described as feathery and normally green but may become red/brown with age.

Flower: The flowers are pale green when young, light blue when mature, solitary and terminal, initially pale green, becoming pale blue or white; the pedicel is 4-8 cm, inserted on a 2 mm diameter yellow or brownish, depressed receptacle. There are five ovate sepals up to 17x 12 mm, tapering at the base in to a claw 2-3 mm. There are normally eight petals, each with a short glabrous claw; the stamens in eight groups of three to seven, are initially upright becoming horizontal with age. The ovary is compound, 4-9 mm with a free stigma 5-9 mm.

Black cumin fruit

Fruits: The fruit is a capsule, up to 16×12 mm in diameter, greyish initially, yellow or brown when mature, with persistent semi-erect stigma, opening at the base, containing numerous dark brown but generally black seeds.

Chromosome number: 2n=12

Black cumin seed

BU Kalajira 1

BU Kalajira 1

BU Kalajira1 fruit

Black cumin brusted seed

Economic Importance: Used as spices and medicine, the seeds are beneficial to digestive system, soothing stomach pain and easing gas colic. The seeds are used in the treatment of fever, pain of the body. The volatile oil of the seeds possesses antibacterial and anti-fungal activity.

Table 1. Black cumin variety released by Spices Research Center (SRC), BARI, Joydebpur, Gazipur, Bangladesh

Sl. No.Name of VarietyReleased byYield
1BARI Kalozira-1


SRC, BARI1.0 ton/ha

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