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Trachyspermum ammi - (L.)Sprague. ex Turrill.

Common Name Ajowan caraway
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Damp ground[238].
Range Europe to eastern Asia in the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Full sun
Trachyspermum ammi Ajowan caraway

Trachyspermum ammi Ajowan caraway


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Trachyspermum ammi is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


T. copticum. Ammi copticum. Carum copticum.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment

The pungently aromatic fruits are about 2cm long[238]. They are used as a flavouring in savoury dishes, including curries, pulses, breads and pastry snacks[238].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Aromatic  Bitter  Cholera  Diaphoretic  Digestive  Diuretic  
Expectorant  Tonic

The seed, and especially the essential oil in the seed, is strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant and tonic[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of colds, coughs, influenza, asthma, diarrhoea, cholera, colic, indigestion, wind, oedema, arthritis and rheumatism[238, 240]. The seed is harvested when fully ripe and either distilled for the essential oil or dried for later use[238]. The seed contains about 4 - 6% essential oil, of which 45 - 55% is the strongly antiseptic essential oil 'thymol'[240]. The essential oil is also added to cough medicines[238]. The root is carminative and diuretic[240].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The seeds are rich in essential oil, 30 - 35% of which is thymol[240], which is more commonly found in Thymus species[238]. The essential oil is added to epoxy derivatives[238]. It is used in perfumes[266].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a moist soil in a sunny position[238]. This species is not frost tolerant[238], but it might be possible to grow it outdoors in Britain as a spring sown annual[K]. The plant is extensively cultivated as a spice in S. W. Asia.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - we have no information for this species, but suggest that you try sowing the seed in situ in April. If this is not successful, then an earlier sowing in the greenhouse in March, planting out after the last expected frosts might be better[K]. It is quite possible that this species will not like to be transplanted, so either sow 4 - 5 seeds per pot, or sow in a tray and transplant to individual pots as soon as the seedlings are big enough to handle[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(L.)Sprague. ex Turrill.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

gorav seth   Thu Aug 21 11:59:26 2003

We sowed a ton of seeds (obtained from an indian grocery store) on a small 4" by 4" flat, and we got relatively good germination. We are about to transplant them (very late in the season) and will see what they end up doing, but so far they look healthy.

Gorav Seth [email protected]

Ajowan, although rarely encountered in the wild, is listed in the local Flora as a supposedly-native species.   Mar 2 2012 12:00AM

I had been looking for this material for years, and I just bought some today after striking a random conversation with my neighborhood's grocer about what could be used to soothe an angry stomach! Nobody ever understood what I was talking about when I asked for "Ajwan", and even less when I was using the "official" Hebrew name, Kamnunith Koptith. It turns out that Trachyspermum ammi's commercial name in Israel is "Nakhwa", or something like that. Let's hope that stuff germinates profusely, I need to take a few good close-up photos of this plant for my botanical portraits collection!
Trachyspermum ammi at the Flora of Israel website.

   Dec 4 2017 12:00AM

"Ajwain seeds" or "carom leaves" is the commonest name for the fruits and leaves of this plant, when theyre used culinarily. (The fruits are kinda-incorrectly commonly called seeds- they are used as a spice...) These terms should be added under "common name." The leaves as well as fruits (erroneously called seeds) are edible.

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