Nigella damascena is also known by many other common names, Love-in-a-Mist, Bird’s Nest, Blue Spiderflower, Ragged Lady, Love-in-a-Tangle, Love-in-a-Puzzle, Blue Crown, Chase-the-Devil, Devil-in-a-Bush, Devil in the Bush, Lady in the Bower, Kiss me twice before I rise, Katherine’s Flower, Jack in the green or Jack in prison.
It is part of the Ranunculaceae family or Buttercup family of plants. It is an upright bushy annual. It is native to Southern Europe, North Africa as well as Southwest Asia.
Nigella damascena can grow to about 50cm or 20in. It has feathery foliage that is pinnately divided. Nigella damascena flowers in early summer. The flowers are blue. However, there are pink and white species as well. The colorful part of the flowers is the sepals. The petals are positioned at the base of the stamens. After flowering, it produces capsules as fruit. These capsules contain a lot of seeds.
Grow Nigella damascena in the sun. Plant it in most types of soil as long as it is well-drained. Propagate by seed. Sow the seeds in autumn for next summer. Provide them winter protection. Nigella damascena is generally disease-free. It is also pest-free.
Nigella damascena is related to a better known Nigella sativa. N. sativa produces the spice called nigella, kalonji, or black cumin. Nigella damascena has a toxic alkaloid in its seed called Damascenine.