Carum carvi L.

2217(1). C. carvi L., Sp. Pl. ed. 1 (1753) 263; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. I (1927) 989; Tutin, Fl. Eur. II (1968) 354 — Обикновен ким

Fam:   Umbelliferae Juss. (Apiaceae}
Genus:   Carum L.
Species: Carum carvi L.
English Name: Carway, Meridian fennel, Persian cumin


Perennial to biennial. The whole plant naked. The root is 10 - 20 cm long, spindle-shaped or cylindrical, fleshy. Stem 30 - 80 (-100) cm high, erect, ridged, grooved, hollow, usually branched at the top, less often than the base. The leaves are green to gray-green, 2 or almost 3 times pinnately divided, oblong, 6 - 15 cm long and 2 - 8 cm wide; main shares 6 - 12 pairs sessile, ovate-lance, the lower of which 2 times longer than wide; intermediate sections unevenly cut into lance linear or linear, sharp, 3 - 25 mm long and 1 - 1.5 mm wide end sections; the pairs of intermediate partitions at the base of the opposite main partitions, located crosswise in a plane perpendicular to the leaf axis; basal and lower leaves with long petioles, upper sessile or with short petioles, extended at the base in white or pink membranous on the edge of the vagina. Complicated umbrella  4 - 8 cm in diameter; main rays (5) 8 - 16, variously long, after flowering obliquely spread, at the base without a shell or with a shell of 6 - 8 narrowly linear, entire or two-, three-part leaves. Umbrelas with numerous blossoms, about 1 cm in diameter, at the base without bracts or with several short filamentous bracts, 4 times shorter than the longest blossom petioles. Petals white, pink or red, about 1.5 cm long, broadly ovate back, cut at the apex, peripheral slightly larger than the rest. Fruits (3-) 4 - 5 (-6) mm long and 2 - 2.5 mm wide, yellow-brown, oblong-elliptical, narrowed towards the top, slightly laterally flattened, with well-defined yellowish main ribs and wide furrows between them . The styles longer than the stylopodium, curved downwards, with spherical stigmas; carpophor deeply bipartite; the mericarps are slightly crescent-shaped when ripe, with a cross-section with an almost regular pentagonal shape; ribs triangular; the canals are elliptical, 1 under the furrows and 2 on the inside.

Economic significance. Cultivated in Europe since ancient times because of the fruits, which have a unique aroma and are widely used as a spice. The fruits contain 3 - 7% essential oil with the main component ketone carvone (50 - 60%) and about 30% lemon. In addition to essential oil, the fruits contain 15-20% fatty oil and about 20% protein, so the residue after extraction of the essential oil can be used to obtain technical oil, and the cake is a good feed. In medicine, fruit infusion or alcoholic solution of essential oil is used for flatulence, gastric and intestinal colic and indigestion. A honey plant that produces abundant nectar. In Bulgaria it is cultivated mainly in Haskovo and Svilengrad.

From:   „Флора на Н. Р. България”, том VIII, БАН, София, (1982)

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Caraway, also known as meridian fennel and Persian cumin (Carum carvi), is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to western Asia, Europe, and North Africa.
Caraway, also known as meridian fennel[1] and Persian cumin[1] (Carum carvi), is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae,[2] native to western Asia, Europe, and North Africa.[3][3][4][5][6]
The plant is similar in appearance to other members of the carrot family, with finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 20–30 cm (7.9–11.8 in) stems. The main flower stem is 40–60 cm (16–24 in) tall, with small white or pink flowers in umbels. Caraway fruits, commonly (erroneously) called seeds, are crescent-shaped achenes, around 2 mm (0.08 in) long, with five pale ridges.

Names and history

The etymology of caraway is complex and poorly understood. Caraway has been called by many names in different regions, with names deriving from the Latin cuminum (cumin), the Greek karon (again, cumin), which was adapted into Latin as carum (now meaning caraway), and the Sanskrit karavi, sometimes translated as "caraway", but other times understood to mean "fennel".[7]
English use of the term caraway dates back to at least 1440,[8] and is considered by Walter William Skeat to be of Arabic origin, though Gernot Katzer believes the Arabic al-karawya كراوية (cf. Spanish alcaravea) to be derived from the Latin carum.[7]


The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone, limonene,[9] and anethole.[10] Caraway is used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread.
Caraway is also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, and other foods. It is also found in European cuisine. For example, it is used in goulash, sauerkraut, and caraway seed cake. The roots may be cooked as a vegetable like parsnips or carrots. Additionally, the leaves are sometimes consumed as herbs, either raw, dried, or cooked, similar to parsley.[3]
In Hungary and Serbia, caraway is commonly sprinkled over home-made salty scones (köményes pogácsa / pogačice s kimom). It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as bondost, pultost, havarti, and Tilsit. Scandinavian akvavit, Icelandic brennivín, and several liqueurs are made with caraway.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding, called meghli, is a popular dessert during Ramadan. It is typically made and served in the Levant area in winter and on the occasion of having a new baby. Caraway is also added to flavor harissa, a North African chili pepper paste. In Aleppian Syrian cuisine it is used to make the sweet scones named keleacha.
Caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Caraway is also used as a breath freshener, and it has a long tradition of use in folk medicine.
In the United States, the most common use of caraway is whole as an addition to rye bread – often called seeded rye or Jewish rye bread. Caraway fruits are frequently used in Irish soda bread, along with raisins and currants.


Caraway is distributed throughout practically all of Europe except the Mediterranean region; it is widely established as a cultivated plant. All other European species of Carum generally have smaller fruits; some grow on rocks in the mountains, chiefly in the Balkans, Italian Alps and Apennines. However the only one that is cultivated is Carum carvi, its fruits being used in many ways in cooking and its essential oils in the preparation of certain medicines and liqueurs.[11]
The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. In warmer regions, it is planted in the winter as an annual. In temperate climates, it is planted as a summer annual or biennial. However, a polyploid variant (with four haploid sets=4n) of this plant was found to be perennial.
Finland supplies about 28% (2011) of the world's caraway production from some 1500 farms, the high output occurring possibly from its favorable climate and latitudes, which ensure long summer hours of sunlight.[12]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Flowering Time: Blooms: V - VII.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Growing in meadows, forest meadows and pastures, on steep grassy slopes in the foothills and mountains. Fore-Balkans, Central and Western Stara Planina, Sofia region, Znepol region, Vitosha region, Western border mountains, Rila, Western and Middle Rhodopes, from 700 to 1600 m altitude. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Europe, Asia and North Africa. Introduced in North America and New Zealand.

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: yes, it is medical plant - Medicinal Plants Act -

References: „Флора на Н. Р. България”, том VIII, БАН, София, (1982), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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