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A pale blue Nigella damascena
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Nigella
Species: N. damascena
Binomial name
Nigella damascena
Seed capsule

Nigella damascena (Love-in-a-mist) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).

It is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia. It is also commonly grown in gardens in North America. It is found on neglected, damp patches of land.

The plant's common name comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It's also sometimes called Devil-in-the-Bush.

It grows to 20-50 cm tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves.

The flowers are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple; with 5-25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed. The sepals are the only colored part of the perianth. The 4-5 carpels of the compound pistil have each an erect style. The flowers blossom in May and June.

The fruit is a large and inflated capsule, growing from a compound ovary, and is composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. This is rather exceptional for a member of the buttercup family. The capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.

They are much used in dried flower bouquets.

The flower has been grown in english cottage gardens since Elizabethan times. The most common variety is 'Miss Jekyll' which has blue flowers, but the more recent 'Persian Jewels' is a mixture of white, pink, lavender and blue flowers. 'Persian Rose' is pale pink. Other cultivars are 'Albion', 'Blue Midget', 'Cambridge Blue', 'Mulberry Rose', and 'Oxford Blue'. The 'Dwarf Moody Blue' is around six inches high.

Related Species

The related Nigella sativa (and not N. damascena) is the source of the spice variously known as Nigella, Kalonji or Black Cumin.

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Nigella damascena


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Unassigned Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales
Familia: Ranunculaceae
Subfamilia: Ranunculoideae
Tribus: Nigelleae
Genus: Nigella
Sectio: N. sect. Erobatos
Species: Nigella damascena


Nigella damascena L., Sp. Pl. 2: 584. 1753.


  • Erobatos damascenum (L.) Spach, Hist. Nat. Vég., 7 : 302. 1838.
  • Melanthium damascenum (L.) Medik., Philos. Bot., 1 : 96. 1789.
  • Erobathos coarctatus (Gmel.) Spach
  • Nigella arvensis var. minor Boiss.
  • Nigella arvensis var. oligogyna Caball.
  • Nigella bourgaei Jord., Pugill. Pl. Nov. : 2. 1852.
  • Nigella caerulea Lam., Fl. Fr., 2 : 312. 1779, nom. illeg.
  • Nigella damascena subsp. minor (Boiss.) A.Terracc., Boll. Reale Orto Bot. Giardino Colon. Palermo, 1 : 151. 1897.
  • Nigella damascena var. africana Brandt
  • Nigella damascena var. coarctata W.T.Aiton, Hort. Kew., ed. 2, 3 : 326. 1811.
  • Nigella damascena var. oligogyna Caball.
  • Nigella damascena var. minor Boiss., Voy. Bet. 1, 11. 1839.
  • Nigella elegans Salisb., Prodr. : 374. 1796, nom. illeg.
  • Nigella involucrata Moench,Meth. : 314. 1794, nom. illeg.
  • Nigella multifida Gater., Pl. Montauban : 100, 1789, nom. illeg.
  • Nigella taurica Steven, Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou, 29 (2) : 283. 1856.

Vernacular name

Deutsch: Damaszener Schwarzkümmel, Jungfer im Grünen
English: Devil-in-the-bush, love-in-a-mist
Français: Nigelle de Damas, barbiche, cheveux de Vénus
Italiano: anigella, damigella, scapigilate
Nederlands: Juffertje-in-het-groen
Русский: Чернушка дамасская
Svenska: Jungfrun i det gröna
Türkçe: Şam çörek otu
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Nigella damascena on Wikimedia Commons.


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