Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is probably native to Egypt, Central Asia, and the eastern Mediterranean region. Today it is grown in Iran, India, Morocco, China, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, and Turkey. It is used in curries, for pickling, for sauerkraut, in soups, and in stews. It is widely used in Latin America. (Vaughan and Geissler 1997)
Cumin is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae). It is a small, slender, branching annual herb, around 30 cm tall. The leaves are divided into several thread-like segments up to 5 cm in length. The small white or pink flowers are borne in few-flowered umbels with thread-like bracts. The fruit is 4 to 8 mm in length and grayish green to dark gray in color. Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) is in an entirely different family (Ranunculaceae, the buttercup family). (Vaughan and Geissler 1997)
- Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (revised and updated edition). Oxford University Press, New York.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
Gabon (Africa & Madagascar)
Russian Federation (Asia)
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Anonymous. 1986. List-Based Rec., Soil Conserv. Serv., U.S.D.A. Database of the U.S.D.A., Beltsville. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1103
- ORSTOM. 1988. List Vasc. Pl. Gabon Herbier National du Gabon, Yaounde. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1671
- Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston. 1970. Man. Vasc. Pl. Texas i–xv, 1–1881. The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1493
- Flora of China Editorial Committee. 2005. Fl. China 14: 1–581. Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing & St. Louis. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1028547
Habitat & Distribution
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cuminum cyminum
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Uses: FOOD, Spice/herb/condiment
Comments: The dried fruit of Cumin cyminum is used as a condiment. It may be native to Turkestan upper Egypt.
Cumin (// or UK //, US //; sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. Its seeds (each one contained within a fruit, which is dried) are used in the cuisines of many different cultures, in both whole and ground form.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Description
- 3 History
- 4 Cultivation and production 
- 5 Breeding of cumin 
- 6 Uses
- 7 Nutritional value
- 8 Confusion with other spices
- 9 Aroma profile
- 10 Images
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The English "cumin" derives from the Old English cymen (or Old French cumin), from Latin cuminum, which is the latinisation of the Greek κύμινον (kyminon), cognate with Hebrew כמון (kammon) and Arabic كمون (kammun). The earliest attested form of the word in Greek is the Mycenaean
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