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Carum carvi

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, wasteland.

White, 5 petals
Flowers have 5 white notched petals. They appear in umbels, up to 4cm wide. Flowers usually have no bracts. Pollinated by bees.
Egg-shaped and ridged. The seeds ripen in July and August.
2 to 3-pinnate, alternate, thread-like leaves. The basal and lower leaves are long-stalked. Seldom found growing wild in the British Isles. Biennial.
The fruit is aromatic.
Other Names:
Meridian Fennel, Persian Cumin.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carum carvi, also known as caraway or Persian cumin, is a species of flowering plant in the carrot family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is widely cultivated for its seeds, which are used as a spice in cooking. The plant is known for its small, white or pink flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in well-drained soil and is often found in gardens, fields, and along roadsides. Carum carvi is a biennial plant, meaning it takes two years to complete its life cycle. In the first year, the plant produces a rosette of leaves, and in the second year it produces a tall stem with flowers and seeds. The seeds of Carum carvi have a distinctive flavor and aroma, and are commonly used to flavor breads, cakes, and other baked goods. The plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Caraway, also known as Carum carvi, is a popular spice that has been used for centuries in cooking and baking. This versatile spice is native to Europe and Western Asia and has a distinctive, warm, and slightly bitter flavor that is perfect for adding depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes.

Caraway is most commonly used in dishes from Central and Eastern Europe, including rye bread, sauerkraut, and pickled vegetables. The seeds are also used to flavor cheeses, soups, stews, and sauces. In the Middle East, caraway is used in the popular spice blend known as za'atar.

The flavor of caraway can be described as a combination of anise, fennel, and licorice, and its aroma is reminiscent of fresh earth. The seeds are small, brown, and crescent-shaped, and they are available whole or ground. When cooking with caraway, it is best to use it sparingly, as its strong flavor can quickly overpower a dish.

In addition to its delicious flavor, caraway has a number of health benefits. It is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including iron, calcium, and potassium. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and digestive-aiding properties, making it a great choice for people who suffer from digestive issues.

One of the most popular ways to use caraway is in rye bread. The seeds add flavor and texture to the bread, and they also help to balance out the tangy flavor of the sourdough. To make caraway rye bread, simply mix together flour, salt, yeast, and caraway seeds, then shape into a loaf and bake until golden brown.

Another classic dish that is flavored with caraway is sauerkraut. This fermented cabbage dish is a staple in Central and Eastern European cuisine, and it is often seasoned with caraway seeds to add a touch of warm, earthy flavor. To make sauerkraut, simply shred cabbage, salt it, and let it ferment in a crock with caraway seeds.

Caraway is a versatile spice that can be used to add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. Whether you are baking bread, making sauerkraut, or cooking up a hearty stew, caraway is a great choice for adding flavor and nutrition to your meal. So next time you are looking to add a touch of warmth to your cooking, reach for a jar of caraway seeds and start experimenting in the kitchen!

In addition to its culinary uses, caraway has also been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. In traditional medicine, caraway seeds were used to treat digestive issues, such as indigestion, bloating, and gas. They were also believed to help with respiratory problems and to boost the immune system.

Research has shown that caraway has antispasmodic properties, which means that it can help to relax the muscles in the digestive tract and reduce symptoms of digestive discomfort. It is also a natural expectorant, which means that it can help to clear mucus and other respiratory irritants from the lungs.

In addition to its digestive and respiratory benefits, caraway has also been shown to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important for protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage. By scavenging these harmful molecules, antioxidants help to protect the body from diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Another benefit of caraway is its potential to support weight loss. Research has shown that the fiber and nutrients in caraway seeds can help to increase feelings of fullness, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet. Additionally, the high fiber content of caraway seeds can help to regulate blood sugar levels, which can prevent overeating and promote weight loss.

Finally, caraway is also a good source of essential oils, which are compounds that have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. These oils can help to protect the body from harmful microorganisms and promote overall health.

In conclusion, caraway is much more than just a delicious spice. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in cooking, baking, and medicinal remedies. Whether you are looking to add flavor to your food, improve your health, or just enjoy the benefits of a natural remedy, caraway is a great choice. So next time you are in the market for a new spice, be sure to add some caraway to your pantry!

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