Niger seeds Facts

Niger seed commonly known as Ramtil is an erect, stout, branched annual herb, grown for its edible oil and seed. Its cultivation originated in the Ethiopian highlands, and has spread to other parts of the world. The seed, technically a fruit called an achene, is often sold as bird feed. The leaves are arranged on opposite sides of the stem. At the top of the stem leaves are arranged in an alternate fashion. Leaves are 10-20 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. Ramtil flower is yellow and, rarely, slightly green. Fruit is normally called achene which is club-shaped, obovoid and narrowly long. The achenes are black with white to yellow scars on the top and base and have a hard testa. The embryo is white. It bears a fairly thick, adherent seed coat and can be stored for up to a year without deterioration.

Name Niger seeds
Scientific Name Guizotia abyssinica
Native Ethiopia
Common/English Name Ramtil, Inga seed, Niger, Niger-seed, blackseed,noog/nug, nyger, nyjer, Niger-seed oil, ramtil oil
Name in Other Languages English:  Inga seed, niger, niger-seed, niger-seed oil, ramtil oil

  • Amharic:  nog, nuk, nook, noog (the plant), nehigue (the oil)
  • Tigrinya and Sahinya: neuk, nuhk, nehug, nehuk
  • Orimigna, Galignya: nuga, nughi
  • Kaffinya: nughio
  • Gumuzinya: gizkoa

French: Guizotia oléifère, niger, graines du, noug
German: Gingellikraut, Nigersaat, Ramtillkraut, Abessinisches Ramtillkraut

  • Assamese: sorguja
  • Bengali: sarguza
  • Oriya: alashi
  • Telugu:  verrinuvvulu
  • Tamil:  payellu
  • Kannada: Hechellu
  • Marathi: Karale or khurasani
  • Gujarati: Ramtal
  • Hindi: Ramtilla, Ramtil or jagni
  • Punjabi: Ramtil

Portuguese: niger, verbesina-da-Índia
Spanish: Abisin, negrillo, ramtilla
Swedish: Nigerfrö
Danish: Nigerfrø.
Finnish: Keltiöt.
Nepalese: Jhuse til, Krisna guru (कृष्ण गुरु), Philinge.
Polish: Olejarka abisyñska.
Russian :   Gizotsiia abissinskaia
Slovenian: Abesinska gizotija

Thai: เมล็ดไนเจอร์, met nijoe

Plant Growth Habit Erect, stout, branched annual herb
Growing Climate Adapted to different environments: cool tropical Eastern Africa, hotter tropical and subtropical lowlands of India and temperate Europe
Soil Grow on almost any soil as long as it is not coarse-textured or extremely heavy. It is usually sown in areas with a rather poor soil or on heavy clay soil under poor cultural conditions.  Niger tolerates waterlogged soils since it grows equally well on either drained soils or waterlogged clays. Niger is extraordinarily resistant to poor oxygen supply in soil because of its ability to develop aerenchymas under these conditions.
Plant Size Average of 1.4 m, but can vary considerably as a result of environmental influences and heights of up to 2 m
Root Well developed, tap rooted with many lateral roots, particularly in upper 5 cm.
Stem Soft, smooth to slightly rough, hairy, hollow, up to 2 cm in diameter, branched, pale green, often purplish stained or dotted, becoming yellow with age, hairy with multicellular white hairs
Leaf Arranged on opposite sides of the stem; 10-20 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. The leaf margin morphology varies from pointed to smooth and leaf color varies from light green to dark green, the leaf surface is smooth.
Flower Yellow and, rarely, slightly green. The heads are 15-50 mm in diameter with 5-20 mm long ray florets. Bright yellow become golden yellow as they mature. Each flower produces about 50 seeds.
Flowering Season Aug to September
Seed Shape & Size Club-shaped, obovoid and narrowly long, 3-6 mm long x 1.5-4 mm broad, 4-angled
Seed Color Glossy black with white to yellow scars
Flavor/Aroma Pleasant odor
Taste nutty taste
Season Sep to October
Major Nutrition Isoleucine 0.307 g (18.36%)
Valine 0.362 g (17.14%)
Threonine 0.237 g (13.47%)
Histidine 0.162 g (13.15%)
Tryptophan 0.054 g (12.27%)
Leucine                0.388 g  (10.50%)
Lysine 0.294 g (8.79%)
Health Benefits
  • Heart Health
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Heals Wounds
  • Immune System Booster
  • Good for Rheumatism
  • Sleep Aid
  • Give Relief from Cold and Flu
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Curbs Morning Sickness
  • Speed Healing
  • Protect the Skin
  • Weight Gain


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