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Cumin was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. Several different types of cumin are known, but the most famous ones are black and green cumin, both of which are used in Persian cuisine.
Today, the plant is mostly grown in Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Mexico, Chile, and China. Since cumin is often used as part of birdseed and exported to many countries, the plant can occur as an introduced species in many territories. Cumin occurs rarely as an introduced species in the British Isles, mainly in Southern England, but the frequency of its occurrence has declined greatly. According to the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ most recent atlas, only one record has been confirmed since 2000.
Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm (12–20 in) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an annual herbaceous plant, with a slender, glabrous, branched stem that is 20–30 cm (8–12 in) tall and has a diameter of 3–5 cm ( 1 1⁄4–2 in).Each branch has two to three sub-branches. All the branches attain the same height, therefore the plant has a uniform canopy. The stem is coloured grey or dark green. The leaves are 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long, pinnate or bipinnate, with thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. Each umbel has five to seven umbellts. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4–5 mm ( 1⁄6– 1⁄5 in) long, containing two mericarps with a single seed. Cumin seeds have eight ridges with oil canals.They resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in colour, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley, and dill.