Common name: Caraway

Scientific name: Carum carvi

Family: Umbelliferae

Uses: Culinary and medicinal.The seeds are used to flavor breads, cakes, biscuits, boiled or baked onions, potato dishes, baked fruit, cream cheese, soups, and stews. They also may be sprinkled into the pot when steaming turnips, beet roots, parsnips, carrots, cabbage, and cauliflower. The leaves are used in salads, soups, and stews and with spinach and zucchini. The roots can be boiled and eaten like parsnips with melted butter or white sauce. The plant can be grown indoors in a sunny place. Caraway is said to have some medicinal qualities.

History: Caraway is indigenous to all parts of Europe and may be native to parts of Asia, India, and North Africa. Its properties were recognized by the ancient Egyptians and early Greeks and Romans. Popular in the Middle Ages and in Shakespeare

Description: The plant has hollow, furrowed, branched stems and a long tap root. The small white or yellow flowers have compound umbels with rays of equal length. The finely cut, bi- or tripinnate leaves are about 6 to 10 inches long. The upper leaves are on a sheathlike petiole. The dark brown fruit is oblong and flattened with two seeds each and five pale ridges.

Plant type: Biennial

Hardiness: Hardiness zones 3 to 4.

Height: 24 to 36 inches

Width: 8 inches


Soil: light, dry soil with a pH of 6.4

Pests: None noted

Disease: None noted

Cultivation: Sow seeds in spring or in autumn if the climate is mild. Plant in a sunny, sheltered site in shallow drills about 8 inches apart. When the seedlings are 3 inches high, thin to 6 inches apart. Seedlings do not transplant well

Companion planting: Caraway and fennel hinder each other

Propagation: Seeds or cuttings.

Flowering period: May to June

Flower color:


Garden notes: Since our plants were set out very late in the season, they did not reach maturity or bloom. We did notice, however, that these were the first plants that the rabbit ate. They were sheered off completely, whereas most other plants were untouched or only slightly eaten by our little friend.