The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Sesame: Benne, gingili, teel
Scientific Name: Sesamum Indicum L.
Family: Pedaliaceae (sesame family)


Sesame is an erect annual plant that can grow to a height of two metres and is similar in appearance to our foxglove. It bears elongated oval leaves on a stem which can be branched or unbranched, depending on the variety. Approximately six weeks after sowing, the sesame plant develops furry, tubular flowers reminiscent of a cornucopia in shape. The flowers can be white, yellow, pink or violet. They may be speckled and grow in groups of three in the leaf axils. The flowers are usually self-pollinated and in most cases only the middle fruit of the group fully ripens. The long taproot has many lateral roots. The plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions and needs much warmth and moisture for its growth and dry weather for the seed to ripen. When the seed capsules have turned brownish black they burst and release the ripe seeds, which may be white, light brown or black, again depending on the variety.
Another plant belonging to the sesame family is Devilís claw (Harpagophytum procumbens).