Nigella damascena

Nigella damascena


The name itself is so romantic!

Other names include “devil-in-the-bush” and, in Austria, “Gretel-in-the-bush”… The story of this name is nice, found on the German Wikipedia site:

Gretel was the daughter of a wealthy farmer, but she fell in love with Hans, a poor farmhand. The two lovers were not allowed to marry, and because they were both so sad they were turned into flowers; Gretel the Nigella, and Hans the Chicory, in German “Hansel on the road”.


The seedheads of Nigella are also very attractive…

… and as they dry they can be cut and saved and used for decoration…

And the seeds are edible. They have a wonderful aromatic, almost perfumed flavour, which reminds me of wild strawberries…

(They are, however, not the same as the seeds of Nigella sativa, which are used in Indian dishes and are quite peppery and spicy, often called black cumin.)


Once you have this pretty flower in your garden it will appear again and again as it seeds itself very well. 😀

27 thoughts on “Nigella damascena

  1. I know the german name: “Junger in Grün” (maiden/virgin in the green). Wunderschön dargestellt von Dir und auch die Geschichte mit Hänsel (Wegwarte/Zichorie) war mir neu. Liebe Grüsse – Uta

  2. That’s a gorgeous plant and interesting that you can display the pods and eat the seeds. Lovely photos too.

    • Thank you Snowbirdpress! I think it’s the colour that makes it so pretty, as I had a white one come up once and it just wasn’t the same!

  3. The “Jungfer im Grünen” really is a very pretty and romantic flower. It looks so delicate. Maybe it
    is called in English “Love-in-a mist” as it symbolizes a disdained love?
    I like this flower and your beautiful photos.

  4. Some lovely photos there! I was looking at the seed heads today on my plot – the flower show is over for this year, but I’ll let them self seed. And I’ve never tried eating the seeds…… thanks

    • Well, it doesn’t do well in really hot weather, but mine started flowering in April, so it would be something for the spring. Sprinkle seeds around later in the year and they will come up on their own next spring! (Even after our very hard winter they were there again!) 😀

    • Hi Emily. I love it when I find a nice story about a flower, and with a name like this it had to have a story behind it! Many years ago I lived on the edge of the Schwarzwald for a year – beautiful region. Now I’m nearer the Bavarian Forest. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Great pictures! I´ve heard the story about the flower before, but couldn´t remember it fully. Thanks for posting it!

  6. Thanks for the story of the flower. It adds so much to looking at them. I haven’t planted these in a few years, but do love them.

  7. Pingback: Early Autumn Wedding Flower Inspiration – Boho Bride – UK Wedding Blog

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