Ethiopian Black seed

Ethiopian Black seed

In Ethiopia, the seeds are found in every local market places. The seeds are cultivated mainly by small scale farmers. Ethiopian cultivation regions are mainly in Gonder, Bale, Harerge, and Jima.

Ethiopian local market  in Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Local Market

The local name of black seeds is “tukur asmud” in Amharic. It usually traded in the international market with the name black cumin, kalonji, black seed or Nigella Sativa.

Black seed (N. Sativa) is commonly found in the Mediterranian region. It is also cultivated in varies parts of the world such as the Egypt, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, southern Europe, and Ethiopia.  

How Nigella Sativa Is Grown in Ethiopia

The plant Nigella sativa grows to a height of 60cm -70cm long the color of the stem turns light green to dark green. The stem turns hollow when it’s older.

Black seeds are cultivated in Ethiopia in the highlands (1500m – 2500m). The seeds are typical dark germination and the seem to germinate better in high temperature. Black seed is like most other nigella plant species. It is an insect-pollinated spicey with the male maturing earlier than the female. The stigma of the flower twists and turns in older plants, and so self-germination is possible with older plants. The plant can germinate after 14 days after sowing and can be harvested within 150 days of sowing the plant. Some research suggests that black seeds that are grown in greenhouses can germinate quicker within 100 days after sowing.

Black seed plant nigella sativa plant stigma twisting
Nigella Sativa plant stigma twisting and turning

Harvesting Black seeds  

The Ethiopian Sowing dates vary from the beginning of July in bale and September in Gonder. Weeding is sometimes necessary for the plant to grow in a healthy manner.  The harvest of the seed mostly takes place in November but sometimes it is harvested until march. The flower releases the seeds easily and so harvesting before complete dryness is advised by experts.

Storage of Black seeds

For the black seeds to presurve, the spicy aroma it should be stored in a place with dry room temperature. Under normal room temperature, the seeds can preserve the spicy nature for about two years.

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