Dill is an erect, freely branching annual herb with finely dissected, lacy, blue-green foliage. "Dill weed" refers to the foliage, and the seeds are usually just called "dill." The leaves are about 1 ft (0.3 m) long and divided pinnately three or four times into threadlike segments each about 1 in (2.5 cm) long. The dill plant grows about 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) tall and sometimes gets top heavy and falls over. The flowers are yellow and borne in large, rounded, compound umbels (umbrella-like clusters in which all the flower stems originate from the same point) on stiff, hollow stems. The whole inflorescence can be 10 in (25 cm) across, and several of them on a feathery blue-green framework can be showy indeed. The fruit is a flattened pod about an eighth of 1 in (2.5 cm) long. All parts of the dill plant are strongly aromatic.
Native originally to southwestern Asia, dill is now naturalized in many parts of Europe and the northern US. Dill is a very popular flavoring in northern, central and eastern European countries, but hardly used at all in France or Italy. Dill is almost indispensable in Russian and Scandinavian cookery. In India, 'Sowa' dill, which is more pungent than European and American varieties, is an essential ingredient in curry.