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CARUM carvi

Image of Carum carvi

TL

Family

Apiaceae

Botanical Name

CARUM carvi

Plant Common Name

Caraway

General Description

The aromatic, strong-tasting seeds of caraway are best known as a flavor in rye bread. This Eurasian herb is a hardy biennial. The aromatic oils in its seeds have a warm, earthy, almost anise-like flavor. If not harvested, the abundant seeds fall to the ground causing new plants to spring forth the following season. Caraway seeds are most popular in northern and eastern European and Russian cooking.

Clumps of feathery foliage are produced by caraway plants in the spring and summer of the first year. These are bright green and supported by ribbed stems. In the second year, delicate umbels of white flowers bloom in summertime. After pollination by bees and other insects, heads of curved, striated, aromatic seeds are produced. Harvest the seeds before they darken to capture as much seed as possible and prevent self-sowing.

Grow caraway in full sun and fertile garden soil with good drainage. Marginal or clay soils are also tolerated but not optimal. If allowed to self-sow, plants may naturalize. In fact, caraway has become naturalized in meadows and along roadsides across much of North America. Plant it in the herb garden, not only for its fragrant seed but for its dainty, fairy-like flowers and delicate feathery foliage.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Herb

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    20"-24" / 50.8cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    10"-12" / 25.4cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean, Turkey, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes