Important Facts about Love in a Mist

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Love in a Mist Quick Facts
Name: Love in a Mist
Scientific Name: Nigella damascena
Origin Southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia
Colors Green with purple or bronze stripes becoming brown as they mature
Shapes Attractive, swollen balloon-shaped seedpod fused at the base to form a capsule, about 1.5- 2 cm long
Taste Intense, nutmeg-like flavor
Health benefits Support for high temperatures, regulation of menstruation, catarrhal affections, flu, asthma, upper-respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal parasites, diabetes, cholesterol and reduce pain
Love-in-a-mist scientifically known as Nigella damascena is a charming old-fashioned flower that blooms in spring and early summer. The plant belongs to one of about 15 species in this genus in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).The plant is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land. Apart from Love in a mist it is also known as devil in the bush, bird’s nest, blue crown, blue spider flower, chase the devil, garden fennel, jack in prison, jack in the green, Katherine’s flower, kiss me twice before I rise, lady in the bower, love in a puzzle, love in a tangle, St Catherine’s flower, nigella, ragged lady, Spanish fennel flower, Wild fennel and Damascus hellebore.

Genus name Nigella comes from the Latin word Niger meaning black in reference to the intense black color of the seeds. Specific epithet Damascena indicates that it grows wild in and around the city of Damascus, Syria. The common name “Love-in-a-mist” is given because the flowers are surrounded by a ruff of similar leaves, giving the appearance of the flowers being surrounded by a mist. The plant is harvested for use as a condiment and source of essential oil. It is a popular ornamental plant, cultivated worldwide as an ornamental garden plant and for dried-flower arrangements, there are some named varieties. It occasionally escapes cultivation and may become established. Populations in Ontario and Quebec, and probably elsewhere, are short-lived. Love-in-a-mist looks good in the garden even when the plant is not in bloom, with its handsome foliage and interesting seedpods after flowering.

Love in a Mist Facts

Name Love in a Mist
Scientific Name Nigella damascena
Native Southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land
Common Names Love-in-a-mist, devil in the bush, bird’s nest, blue crown, blue spider flower, chase the devil, garden fennel, jack in prison, jack in the green, Katherine’s flower, kiss me twice before I rise, lady in the bower, love in a puzzle, love in a tangle, St Catherine’s flower, nigella, ragged lady, Spanish fennel flower, Wild fennel, Damascus hellebore
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Liefde-in-‘n-mis, Juffertijie-in-groen
Albanian: Love-in-a-mjegull, nigela e Damaskut, nigelë
Amharic: Fik’iri-wisit’i-ch’igagi (ፍቅር-ውስጥ-ጭጋግ)
Arabic: Alhabu fi aldabab (الحب في الضباب)
Aragonese: Arañuela
Armenian: Ser-marrakhugh (սեր-մառախուղ)
Azerbaijani: eşq içində-eşqdə
Basque: Katu bixarra
Bengali: Prēma-ina-ē-kuẏāśā (প্রেম-ইন-এ-কুয়াশা)
Bulgarian: Lyubov-v-a-mŭgla (любов-в-а-мъгла), damaska chelebitka (дамаска челебитка)
Burmese: Aahkyit -In-a- a hkoe aangwae (အချစ် -In-a- အခိုးအငွေ့)
Catalan: Aranya, Barba d’ermità, Ermità, Estel, Estela-mare, Estrella de camp, Flor d’aranya, Herba de capseta, Llanternes
Chinese: Míwù zhōng (迷霧中),  Hei zhong cao (黑 种草)
Croatian: Ljubav-u-magla, damaščanska crnjika
Czech: Láska v mlze, černucha damašská
Danish: Kærlighed-in-a-tåge, Jomfruen i det grønne
Dutch: Liefde-in-een-mist, Juffertje in ‘t-groen, Juffertje-in-het-groen
English: Devil in a bush, Love-in-a-mist, Jack-in-the-green, Wild fennel, Damascus hellebore
Esperanto: Amo-en-nebulo
Estonian: Armastus-udu-udu
Filipino: Pag-ibig-in-a-mist, tarhaneito
Finnish: Rakkaus-in-a-sumu, Neidonkukka, Tarhaneito
French: Amour dans la brume, Cheveux de Vénus, Nigelle de Damas, barbe de capuchin, barbiche, patte d’araignée      
Galician: Luceiros
Georgian: Siq’varuli-menji (სიყვარული-მენჯი)
German: Liebe im Nebel, Braut im Haar, Damaszener Schwarzkümmel, Gretchen im Bush, Gretel im Busch, Jungfer im Grünen, Jungfrau im Grün, Türkischer Schwarzkümmel, Braut in Haaren, damaszener Schwarzkümmel
Greek: agápi se mia omíchli (αγάπη σε μια ομίχλη), koinó mavrokoúki (κοινό μαυροκούκι)
Gujarati: Prēma-māṁ-ēka-jhākaḷa (પ્રેમ-માં-એક-ઝાકળ)
Hausa: So-in-a-hazo
Hebrew: Ketzach dammaska’I, אהבה בתוך ערפל, קֶצַח דַּמַּשְׂקָאִי 
Hindi: Pyaar mein ek-dhundh (प्यार में एक-धुंध)
Hungarian: Love-in-a-köd, Kerti kandilla, borzaskata, vetési katicavirág
Icelandic: Ast-í-a-mist
Indonesian: Cinta-dalam-kabut
Irish: Grá-i-ceo
Italian: Love-in-a-mist, Anigella, damigella, Capelli di venere, Damigella scapigliata, Erba bozzolina, Nigella damascena, Melanzio, Scapigilate, nigella di Damasco
Japanese: Kiri no naka no ai (霧の中の愛), Kuro tanetsou (ク ロタネソウ ), nigera (ニゲラ)
Javanese: Tresno-in-a-mist
Kannada: Prīti-ondu-man̄ju (ಪ್ರೀತಿ-ಒಂದು-ಮಂಜು)
Kazakh: maxabbat adaswı (махаббат адасуы)
Korean: Angaee salang (안개에 사랑), heug jongcho (흑 종초),  Huk chong cho
Kurdish: Hezkirina-di-mist
Lao: Love-in-a-mist
Latin: Amor-in-a-caligo
Latvian: Mīlestība-miglā
Lithuanian: Meilė-rūke, Darželinė juodgrūdė
Macedonian: Loveubov-vo-magla (loveубов-во-магла)
Malagasy: Ny fitiavana-in-a-zavona
Malay: Cinta dalam kabus
Malayalam: Snēhaṁ-oru-mūṭalmaññ (സ്നേഹം-ഒരു-മൂടൽമഞ്ഞ്)
Maltese: Love-in-a-mist
Marathi: Prem-in-e-mist (प्रेम-इन-ए-मिस्ट)
Mongolian: Khairyn manan (хайрын манан)
Nepali: Love-in-a-mist
Norwegian: Love-in-a-tåke, Jomfruen i det grønne
Occitan: Pate d’aranha 
Oriya: ପ୍ରେମ-ଇନ୍-କୁହୁଡି |
Pashto: په مینه کې-ګناه
Persian: عشق در یک غبار
Polish: Miłość we mgle, Czarnuszka damasceñsca
Portuguese: Amor-em-uma-névoa, Barbas-de-velho, Cabelo-de-vênus, Dama-entre-verdes, Nigela-dos-jardins, Nigela-de-Damasco, Damas-entre-verde, Nigela, damas-do-bosque
Punjabi: Lava-ina-ē-misaṭa (ਲਵ-ਇਨ-ਏ-ਮਿਸਟ)
Romanian: Dragoste-in-a-ceață, chica voinicului               
Russian: Nigella (нигелла), Chernushka damasskaia (Чернушка дамасская), devitsa v zeleni (девица в зелени)
Serbian: Ljubav u magli (љубав у магли), mačkov brk (мачков брк), čupava kata (чупава ката), čupava crnika (чупава црника)              
Sindhi: پيار-ان-ڪوڙ
Sinhala: Mīdumaka ādaraya (මීදුමක ආදරය)
Slovak: Cernuška damascénska, čiernucha damašska
Slovene: Vzhodna črnika,
Slovenian: Ljubezen-v-megli
Spanish: Amor en la niebla, Ajeluz, Araña, Arañuela, Nequilla de Damasco, Cabellos de Venus, Barbas-de-velho, Damas-entre-verde, ajenuz de jardín, arañas, neguilla
Sudanese: Cinta-di-a-halimun
Swedish: Love-in-a-mist, Jungfrun i det gröna
Tajik: Işqi oşiqona (ишқи ошиқона)
Tamil: Kātal-oru-mūṭupaṉi (காதல்-ஒரு-மூடுபனி)
Telugu: Prēma-lō- a- misṭ (ప్రేమ-లో- a- మిస్ట్)
Thai: Khwām rạk nı-a-h̄mxk (ความรักใน-a-หมอก)
Turkish: Cörekotu, şam çörekotu
Ukrainian: Zakokhanyy v tuman (закоханий в туман), zakokhanyy v tuman (чорнушка дамаська)
Urdu: محبت میں ایک دوبی
Uzbek: Tumanli sevgi
Vietnamese: Tình yêu trong sương mù
Welsh: Cariad-mewn-niwl, Glas y Niwl
Zulu: Uthando-in-a-mist
Plant Growth Habit Upright growing, small to medium sized, annual garden flowering plant
Growing Climates Stony, sunny positions, dump sites, waste places, fields, meadows, roadsides and in rocky ground
Soil Prefers moist sandy soil, though it doesn’t like to sit in wet soil and does best with a neutral soil pH. Love-in-a-mist can tolerate somewhat dry conditions, as well as other types of soil, including loam, clay-loam, and gravelly soil
Plant Size 15 to 24 inches (28-61 cm.) in height and up to a foot (31 cm.) in width
Stem Stems erect, slender, 10-75 cm, glabrous
Leaf Leaves are primary or secondary pinnately lobed and finely lobed. The lower stem leaves are stalked, 2-3 mm long, and the upper leaves are sessile
Flowering season July to October
Flower Flowers have a single branch-top and a 5-calyx, usually bright blue to very pale blue but some may be white, pink, or lavender, petal-like, 8-12 mm long, elliptically ovate, and gradually narrow into claws at the base. The upper lip is shorter than the lower lip, its apex gradually narrows into a linear shape, the lower lip is 2 deep cleft, the middle of the wider, apex and middle of the tuberous process
Fruit Shape & Size Attractive, swollen balloon-shaped seedpod fused at the base to form a capsule (actually an inflated capsule composed of 5 fused true seedpods), about 1.5- 2 cm long
Fruit Color Green with purple or bronze stripes becoming brown as they mature
Taste Intense, nutmeg-like flavor
Plant Parts Used Flowers, Leaves
Propagation By seed
Season August to October
Suggested Use
  • Beds
  • Borders
  • Cut flowers
  • Edging
  • Mass plantings
  • Window boxes
  • Fillers
  • Hanging baskets

Plant Description

Love in a Mist is an upright growing, small to medium sized, annual garden flowering plant that normally grows about 15 to 24 inches (28-61 cm.) in height and up to a foot (31 cm.) in width. The plant is found growing in stony, sunny positions, dump sites, waste places, fields, meadows, roadsides and in rocky ground. The plant prefers moist sandy soil, though it doesn’t like to sit in wet soil and does best with a neutral soil pH. Love-in-a-mist can tolerate somewhat dry conditions, as well as other types of soil, including loam, clay-loam, and gravelly soil. The stem can be branched or unbranched, erect, slender, about 10-75 cm long and glabrous.

Leaves

Love-in-a-mist leaves are primary or secondary pinnately lobed and finely lobed. The lower stem leaves are stalked, 2-3 mm long, and the upper leaves are sessile. Plants have finely cut, bright green leaves that resembles fennel leaves.

Flowers

Love-in-a-mist flowers have a single branch-top and a 5-calyx, usually bright blue to very pale blue but some may be white, pink, or lavender, petal-like, 8-12 mm long, elliptically ovate, and gradually narrow into claws at the base. The upper lip is shorter than the lower lip, its apex gradually narrows into a linear shape, the lower lip is 2 deep cleft, the middle of the wider, apex and middle of the tuberous process. Stamens are numerous, anthers obtuse or slightly acuminate. Love-in-a-mist usually has 5 carpel, basally united into a complex ovary. Flowering normally takes place in between July to October. Each solitary flower appears to sit on a bed of lacy (and misty) foliage, hence the common name.

Fruit

Fertile flowers are followed by attractive, swollen balloon-shaped seedpod fused at the base to form a capsule (actually an inflated capsule composed of 5 fused true seedpods), about 1.5- 2 cm long, with a decent tip and an 8-10 mm tip beak. Fruits are green with purple or bronze stripes becoming brown as they mature.  Love-in-a-mist has many black seeds that are oblate triangulate. Surface is rough with small dots.

Stems with dried seed capsules make excellent additions to dried flower arrangements. Cultivars (some with double flowers) come in additional flower colors including white, pink, rose, violet and purple.

Different varieties of nigella love-in-a-mist

Listed below are some of the popular varieties of love in a mist

1. Miss Jekyll dark blue

This popular, upright, bushy variety boasts stunning, dark blue blooms which are then followed with decorative, balloon-shaped seed pods which are a quirky addition for dried flower displays.

Growing to a height of 18 inches and 12 inches in width, this variety will is unfussy and will grow in any well-drained soil. Plant Miss Jekyll dark blue where it can receive full sun and it will reward you with a fabulous display.

This species of love-in-a-mist is perfect for flower border and beds, city and country courtyards, cottage gardens and pots and containers for patios and decking.

2. Miss Jekyll Alba

This fabulous variety is very similar to the Miss Jekyll dark blue but instead sports pretty ornate white flowers and bright green seed pods. These will thrive in all the same spots as the previous species; however, they are particularly useful for brightening up sunny borders.

Miss Jekyll alba usually grows up to 20 inches in height and the same in width and is easy to care for, requires little pruning and is generally problem-free when it comes to pests and diseases.

This variety blooms between July and September and will thrive in moist, well-drained soil, full sun and in a sheltered spot.

3. Persian Jewels

This type of love-in-a-mist produces a gorgeous jumble of bloom colors in shades of blue, purple, pink and white. Persian jewels grow from 12 to 18 inches in height and are perfect for bedding. They also make beautiful cut flowers and look simply stunning in a vase.

The seeds of this variety have a strong aroma and spicy taste and can be used to great effect in cooking and baking, adding a burst of flavor to bread, cakes and curries.

You should plant nigella in moist, well-drained soil and full sun and will flower from June to August.

4. Blue midget

This dwarf nigella is a little shorter than other varieties and only grows to around 10 inches in height, making it a brilliant option for edging. It has beautiful sky blue flowers and the same ferny, misty foliage as other members of the love-in-a-mist family.

Blue midget nigellas prefer moist, well-drained soil and full sun although they will tolerate partial shade. You can either sow your seeds between March and May, or in autumn, and they will bloom the following year.

You can cut flowers regularly to encourage growth and prolong the flowering window. You will also need to deadhead them if you do not wish them to reseed.

Traditional uses and benefits of Love in a Mist

  • It has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • In Eastern traditional medicine it is used for the treatment of high temperatures, regulation of menstruation or catarrhal affections.
  • Love-in-a-mist seeds are said to have an expectorant effect in small doses (which is used to treat coughs).
  • Herbal healers grind these seeds into a paste and mix them with honey for treatment of flu, asthma and upper-respiratory conditions.
  • These seeds if consumed in moderation can help digestion.
  • It is also used to fight diabetes, cholesterol and reduce pain.
  • Love-in-a-mist has the effect of removing gastrointestinal parasites and prolactin.

Culinary Uses

  • Seed can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • Normally it is used as a condiment and has a nutmeg flavor.
  • Seeds have been used as a condiment and in confectionery, to flavor wines and snuff.
  • It can be found in baked goods, pickles, and can also be used as a substitute for pepper.

Other Facts

  • An essential oil is distilled from the plant and is used in perfumery and lipsticks.
  • The airy foliage makes a nice complement to broader-leaved plants.
  • Seeds look extremely decorative and are often used for dried bouquets.
  • Nigella damascena are considered only slightly poisonous.
  • Love-in-a-mist is most valued as a beautiful, lacy ornamental in the garden and a colorful component of fresh and dried arrangements.
  • The flower is a symbol of the bonds that bind people together.
  • Plants should be spaced at least 6 inches apart for best show and watered deeply during dry spells.
  • Love-in-a-Mist has been cultivated for over 400 years and is a relative to the buttercup.
  • The aromatic seeds are used in the Middle East for culinary and medicinal purposes.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_damascena

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=18793#null

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Nigella+Damascena

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2381631

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/230471

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/NIGDA

https://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Nigella+damascena

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200008022

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b744

https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=NIDA

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