The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Caraway: Wild cumin, Carvies
Scientific Name: Carum carvi L.
Family: Apiaceae (parsley family)


Everyone knows caraway. As soon as we hear the name we think of cabbage salad, onion tart and tasty types of bread that are spiced with caraway. The small, long, black caraway seeds that appear before our eyes are the fruit of a plant whose appearance we do not generally think about. In the first year of its two-year life the caraway develops a fleshy taproot smelling of carrot and an unprepossessing rosette of leaves. It is not until the following year that a stem grows out of it, growing to a height of about 1 m, that branches in the upper area and is crowned with white to reddish flowers from May to June that are arranged loosely in compounds the size of the palm of one’s hand like an umbrella, the so-called umbels. Umbel plants also include, for example, the carrot and dill, plants that many have seen perhaps. The grassy-green leaves of the caraway become ever finer from the lower area of the stem upwards.
The caraway is not particularly selective in where it grows. It grows well in fields, meadows and grassy areas as well as at the side of paths, on banks and embankments.