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Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3–7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seed is used as a spice.

Nigella is often used in vegetable dishes. The seeds are roasted with other whole-seed spices such as cumin and coriander before being added to the main meal to simmer for a while. Nigella is also traditionally sprinkled on top of some types of naan.

It has a sharp, slightly bitter, peppery and nutty taste

Nigella is native to Western Asia where it grows both wild and cultivated. The flower is also cultivated in India, Egypt and the Middle East.

The seeds are eaten by elephants to aid digestion.