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Caraway (Carum carvi) is an essential oil crop.

Caraway (Carum carvi)
Caraway (Carum carvi)
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©Jerzy Opioła (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Economic importance

The leaves, stems, and roots are used as food, although the seeds are the main product.

The caraway fruit contains 4-7% essential oil. The essential oil contains carvone, which is used as a flavoring agent for liqueurs, and limonene, used in perfumery; their combination gives caraway its characteristic aroma.

The fruits also yield 14-16% of the fatty oil which is used for technical purposes. The seeds are used as a spice, for baking and cheese-making.

A good honeybee.

The tuberous roots of caraway are edible and are somewhat popular, especially in China.


Caraway seems to have originated in Asia Minor.

Caraway has been found in Middle East Asia and dates back to the 3rd millennium B.C. This plant was well known to the ancient Egyptians. It was introduced to Europe from North Africa about 1,000 years ago. Naturalization occurred mainly in Northern Europe and North America, and crop improvement was focused on increasing seed size and essential oil content.

Cultivation areas and yield

Caraway production is significant in Northern Europe, namely in the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Scandinavia, Russia, and other temperate countries.

Small areas of caraway cultivation during the USSR were in the Khmelnytsky and Lviv regions of Ukraine.

On the territory of Russia, as an agricultural crop is grown in the Non-Black Earth and Central Black Earth zones.

The average seed yield is 0.6-0.8 t/ha.


Botanical description

Caraway (Carum carvi L.) is a biennial plant, usually cultivated as an annual, belonging to the Celery family (Apiaсеае). Propagated by seeds.

The root is large rod-shaped, tuberous, relatively fleshy, parsnip-like, yellow with a white interior, up to 20 cm long.

Stem is hollow, erect, branched, glabrous, hollow, furrowed.

Plant height 50-70 (90) cm.

Leaves are alternate, compound, tri-pinnatipartite dissected.

The inflorescence is a complex flattened umbrella with numerous ray pedicels of unequal length. Flowers are arranged on long pedicels, small, white, yellowish or pinkish-white.

The fruit is a double seed, consisting of two one-seeded fruits. There are ten longitudinal ribs on the surface of the fruit, which contain tubules with essential oil. The seeds are fragrant, easily crumbling, oblong and sickle-shaped, ribbed, dark brown, about 5 mm long, with a pentagonal cross section. Weight of 1000 seeds is 2.3-2.5 g, also reported: about 300-350 pieces weigh 1 g.

Biological features

Caraway is an undemanding crop for heat.

It has high requirements for moisture and soil. Fertile soils and sufficient moisture are optimal for it but caraway cannot tolerate too wet soils.

It is a light-loving plant.



In the first year of life, the caraway plant develops a root and a rosette of leaves. Fruiting occurs in the second year.

Excessive overgrowth of the above-ground part is not recommended because it reduces the yield of the seeds.


Crop rotation

In crop rotation, winter cereals are considered the best predecessors of caraway, coming after the steam in which the manure was applied, leguminous crops.


Fertilizer system

Caraway responds well to fertilizers.

N45-60P45-60K45-60 is applied as the main fertilizer .

When sowing, granular superphosphate is applied at the rate of 10 kg/ha P2O5.

When a rosette of leaves is formed, fertilizing is carried out with nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizers in the calculation of NP at 10-15 kg/ha.


Tillage system

Soil cultivation for caraway includes:

  • autumn plowing to a depth of 25-28 cm (after winter crops, peeling is carried out before plowing);
  • harrowing in early spring;
  • pre-sowing cultivation followed by harrowing.


Start sowing caraway early in the spring.

The sowing method is wide-row with a row spacing of 45 cm.

The seeding rate is 10-12 kg/ha.

Seeding depth 2 cm.


Crop care

Crop care includes: loosening row spacing to break the soil crust and kill weeds.

In the first year of plant life, light hilling is carried out in autumn to protect them from freezing.

In the second year of life in early spring, harrowing is carried out across the rows.


Harvesting of caraway seeds is started when 60% of the fruits are browned.

The cleaning method is single-phase. It is carried out by grain combines.

For storage lay seeds with a moisture content of not more than 12%.



Crop production / P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher educational institutions).

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Agriculture and crop production. Ed. V.S. Niklyaev. – M .: “Epic”, 2000. – 555 p.