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Caraway Carum carvi

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KAY-rum KAR-vee
Description

Caraway is an edible herbaceous biennial (sometimes perennial) with leaves that are often used in salads, teas, stews, and soups; and seeds that are used for flavoring cookies, breads, salads, and cheeses; and roots that can be cooked. It is a versatile plant that grows across a wide swath of USDA climate zones and, in nature, is often found in moist meadows, arable land and waste places at sea level and higher elevations. In warm climates, it is planted in the winter as an annual. In temperate climates, it is planted as a summer annual or biennial. Caraway is a well-known herb cultivated for its culinary and medicinal uses since ancient times.

Caraway grows best in well-drained, moist garden soil in full sun or partial shade. It tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 7.6. Plants growing in full sun are richer in essential oils and therefore more aromatic. Established Caraway plants have deep roots and do not tolerate root disturbance, but often self-sow freely when in a suitable location. It is a good plant for breaking up the sub-soil on heavy, wet land. It does not do well growing near fennel or wormwood, but is a good companion for most plants, especially those that are shallow-rooted.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Caraway flowers attract parasitic wasps to the garden, which prey on aphids.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#herb garden culinary#herbaceous perennials#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#edible#flowering
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#herb garden culinary#herbaceous perennials#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#edible#flowering
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carum
    Species:
    carvi
    Family:
    Apiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Caraway has a long history as a household remedy for digestive issues.
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Temperate Eurasia
    Distribution:
    Throughout the United States (excepting California and Texas east to South Carolina), Canada north to Greenland, Northern Africa.
    Edibility:
    Leaves and seeds are typically eaten, but all parts are edible. Seeds have a spicy flavor; leaves are less spicy, with a parsley-dill flavor.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 10 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Crescent shaped seeds, 1/16 of an inch, with 5 ridges. Use as leaves in salads, teas, stews, and soups; seeds for flavoring cookies, breads, salads, and cheeses; roots can be cooked.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Umbels of 8 to 15 small white or pink-tinged symmetrical flowers on 8 to 12 inch stems.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Compound leaves, made up of two or more leaflets. Similar in appearance to carrots with finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 8 to 12 inch stems. One compound leaf per node along the stem. Edge of the leaf can be lobed with or without teeth, or entire with no lobe.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Predatory Insects
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses