The word “sesame” is from Latin sesamum or Greek sēsamon; derived from Arabic semsem. Sesame seed is considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known to humanity. Sesame seeds occur in many colours depending on the cultivar. The most traded variety of sesame is off-white coloured. Other common colours are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray, and black. The colour is the same for the hull and the fruit.
Sesame seeds are small. Their size, form, and colours vary with the thousands of varieties now known. Typically, the seeds are about 3 to 4 mm long by 2 mm wide and 1 mm thick. The seeds are ovate, slightly flattened, and somewhat thinner at the eye of the seed (hilum) than at the opposite end. The weight of the seeds is between 20 and 40 mg.
Cumin is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.
Botanical Name: Cuminum cyminum L.
Commercial Part: Fruit
Foreign Name of Cumin
Spanish : Comino, French: Cumin, German : Romischer Kummel, Swedish : Spiskummin, Arabic : Kammun, Dutch : Komijn, Italian : Comino, Portuguese : Cominho, Russian : Kmin, Chinese : Machin