Nigella sativa, also known as kalonji, nigella, or black cumin, is an annual plant in the Ranunculaceae family native to western Asia (Iraq, Iran, and Turkey) and Eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus).
The name of the genus Nigella is derived from the Latin word niger, meaning “black“, alluding to the color of the seed. The specific Latin epithet sativa means “cultivated“. Nigella includes about 20 species of annual flowering plants.
Nigella plants are hardy plants that can reach heights of 8 to 24 inches (20 to 60 cm). The branched stems have thin, deeply divided foliage. The light blue or white flowers have 5 petals, many stamens, and 5 or 6 oblong, fused carpels.