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Love-in-a-mist Nigella damascena

Nigella damascena is a flowering plant belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia. The Latin qualifier ‘damascena’ relates to Damascus in Syria.

The plant's common name comes from the fennel-like, ferny foliage that forms a “mist” around the pretty blue flowers.

It grows to 20–50 cm tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves. The flowers, blooming in early summer, are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple, with 5 to 25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed.

The fruit is a large and inflated capsule, growing from a compound ovary, and is composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. This is rather exceptional for a member of the buttercup family. The capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.

 

Fact 1

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