Nigella damascena


Sp. Pl. 1: 534. 1753

Selected by author to be illustratedIntroduced
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 3.
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Stems erect, slender, 10-75 cm, glabrous. Leaves 2-16 cm; basal leaves petiolate, segments wider than ±sessile cauline leaves. Inflorescences: involucral bracts whorled, similar to cauline leaves, curving up to surround flower. Flowers 10-50(-60) mm diam.; sepals blue, sometimes pink or white, short-clawed, 8-25 × 3-15 mm, apex entire to irregularly incised or lobed, occasionally lacerate; petals clawed, abaxial lip distally 2-lobed, bearing 2-3 nectar glands or apex expanded, adaxial lip scalelike. Capsules smooth, 8-35 mm; locules 5-10; beak persistent, slender.

Phenology: Flowering late spring–early fall.
Habitat: Dump sites and waste places
Elevation: 0-400 m


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B.C., Ont., Que., Ill., Kans., Md., Mich., Mo., N.Y., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., Tenn., W.Va., native to Eurasia.


Nigella damascena is frequently cultivated as an ornamental and for dried-flower arrangements. It occasionally escapes cultivation and may become established. Populations in Ontario and Quebec, and probably elsewhere, are short-lived.

Most North American populations of Nigella damascena are represented by a mixture of single- and double-flowered (having supernumerary flower parts) individuals. Sepals tend to be larger and more variable in color than in Eurasian plants. Single-flowered plants usually have petals; petals appear to be absent in double-flowered individuals.



Lower Taxa

No lower taxa listed.