With a popular name like Love-in-a-Mist, one could guess that Nigella damascena would have a romantic story. In truth, however, for the most part, this annual herb is simply referred to as Love-in-a-Mist for its vibrant blue flowers that appear to float in a mist of delicate, pinnate, bright green leaves.
Some other names for the plant are faux cumin, Roman coriander, gith, fitch, devil-in-the-bush, black caraway, black cumin, kalonji, and wild Fennel. Native to North Africa and the southern Europe, Nigella damascena is one of 15 species of this genus in the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family.
Love-in-a-Mist is a small to mid-sized annual plant that grows 15 to 24 inches tall and up to a foot wide (when not crowded).
The plants have finely cut, light green leaves that resemble those of fennel. Light green, finely distributed, thread-like bracts form the “mist” that surrounds the jewel-shaped flowers.
The flowers are usually pale blue to light blue, but some can be lavender, pink, or white. Each flower is 1½-inches wide, with five large, petal-shaped sepals and tiny, deeply divided petals hidden under the stamens.