Caraway plant

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(Carum carvi)


Common English name: Caraway, meridian fennel, Persian cumin

alcaravea carum carvi frutos

Caraway fruits

Common name in other languages

– Spanish: alcaravea, alcarahueya, carvia, alcaravia, comino de prado, hinojo de prado.
– Catalan: carvit, alcaravia, ate of prat, comineta, Fenoll of prat, matafaluga overboard
– Portuguese: alcaravia, cominho-Armenian complexion, cominho, cominho-two-meadows
– French: caraway, cumin des prés
– German: Wiesenkümmel, Echter Kümmel
– Italian: dei prati cumin, caraway

Scientific name: Carum carvi

Family: Apiaceae or Umbelliferae

Origin: Northern and Central Europe.

Habitat: It requires fertile, well-drained, light soil for proper growth. It does not tolerate moisture or clay soils., preferring chalky soil, wit a pH 7 or 7.5.

Geographical distribution: It has now been naturalized in all continents. It is mainly found in mountainous areas up to 2,000 m., Distributed through Europe, Siberia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. In general, caraway is not in the Mediterranean due to warmer weather.

Caraway description


Drawing of caraway with a detail of the flower and the fruit in the upper right

Carum carvi ) Caraway (Carum carvi) is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant, 30-70 cm tall.

It has a pivotal taproot, yellowish, from which numerous erect stems spring. They are erect, cylindrical, branched and striated.

The leaves are arranged alternately to the stem, petiolated. The foliage is divided into pinnate or bipinnate leaves. The upper leaves may be sessile.

The inflorescence is a terminal umbel with tiny white flowers. Each umbel may contain between 6 and 14 unequal radiuses. This is an umbel, a very characteristic inflorescence of the Asteraceae family. It is shaped like an inverted umbrella, which is formed because all the flower stalks are joined to the stem by the same point.

An enlarged detail of the flower and the fruit of caraway

An enlarged detail of the flower and the fruit of caraway .

Used parts of caraway


General aspect of caraway (Carum carvi)

  • Root: the root is eaten boiled, steamed, in soups or puree. It can also be cut and fried in the same way as potatoes.

  • Leaves: fresh young leaves are used in salads.

  • Flower stalks: The flower stalks are eaten as if they were asparagus in North Africa.

  • Seeds or fruits: Small fruits are used as a condiment (alone or in blends like curry), and in phytotherapy.

  • Essential oil: It is used in aromatherapy, perfumery and as a flavoring additive.

Composition of caraway

  • Flowers in umbel of caraway

    Flowers in umbel of caraway

  • Carbohydrates

  • Protein

  • Fats

  • Fiber

  • Vitamins: It contains B vitamins and small amounts of vitamin C.

  • Minerals: calcium, magnesium, manganese, chromium, potassium, iron.

  • Beta-carotene

  • Quercetin

  • Furfural (antiseptic)

  • Essential oil (3-6%): Carvone (50-60%), dyhydrocarvone, carveol, dihydrocarveol, limonene, acetic aldehyde.

Caraway essential oil (aromatic components)

Caraway leaves

Caraway leaves

  • Terpenes: carvone (carminative, antioxidant, stimulant, vermifuge). Caraway is one of the richest plants in carvone.

  • Monoterpenes: limonene, gamma-terpinene, myrcene, acetaldehyde, carveol, cis-carveol, trans-carveol, alpha-phellandrene, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, beta-pinene, carvacrol, thujene.

  • Sesquiterpenes: cadinene, camphene (expectorant)

  • Tannins: The plant contains tannins (antioxidant and astringent)

Composition of caraway seed

per 100g.

Nutrient Amount
Energy/ Calories 333kcal.
Carbohydrates 49,90g.
Proteins 19,77g.
Fats 14,59g.
Fiber 38g.
Vitamin C 21mg.
Thiamin 0,38mg.
Niacin 3,60mg.
Iron 16,23mg.
Calcium 689mg.
Phosphorus 568mg.
Magnesium 258mg.
Potassium 1.351mg.
Sodium 17mg.
Selenium 12,1mg.
Phytosterols 76mg.
Aromatic components of caraway
Carvone 44.310ppm.
Limonene 30.180ppm.
Gamma-terpinene 14.160ppm.
Carveol 3.240ppm.
Myrcene 1.560ppm.
dyhydrocarvone 1.500ppm.
Cadinene 3.720ppm.
Camphene 900ppm.
Beta-pinene 600ppm.
Alpha-pinene 540ppm.
Botanical classification
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheobionta

Vascular plants

Superdivision Spermatophyta

Seed plants

Division Magnoliophyta

Flower plans

Class Magnoliopsida


Order Apiales
Family Apiaceae
Gender Carum
Species Carum carvi

punto rojo More information about caraway.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

28 March, 2019

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"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.

Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.