The word Nigella comes from nigellus, meaning black. The plant is known by many other names, such as nigelle, coriauder of trome, sweet flavor, fenuel flower, and black seed. N. sativa is native to Asia, specifically Syria and Iraq, but is now widely cultivated in many Mediterranean countries. It is a bushy, self-branching plant with white or pale to dark blue flowers. N. sativa (L.) is self-reproducing, and forms a fruit capsule that contains many white, trigonal seeds. Once the fruit capsule has matured, it opens up and the seeds contained within are exposed to the air, becoming black in color (El-Dakhakhny, 1965).
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