Nigella is an annual flowering plant with finely divided, linear leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually colored pale blue and white, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3-7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seeds of N. sativa, known as Black Cumin, onion seed or just nigella are used both as a condiment in bread and cakes and various confections and like pepper or combined with pepper such as cayenne in sauces. According to an Arab Proverb it is said that, 'in the black seed is the medicine for every disease except death.'
Nigella damascena has been grown in English cottage gardens since Elizabethan times, commonly called Love-in-a-mist.