Caraway Harilik köömen Carum carvi
The biennial caraway plants flower modestly everywhere with small elegant inflorescences in umbels.
In Estonia they are quite common but keep close to humans and grow in biotopes influenced by humans – near settlements or farms, in meadows, the verges of roads …
The stem of the plant is shorter and thinner than that of other umbellates, growing only some tens of centimetres high in poor growing conditions and less than a metre in favourable ones – so it is difficult in autumn to find the places where caraway grows for collecting caraway seeds.
But recognizing it is made easier by the smell, familiar to all, which hits your nose when you rub the flowers or seeds. Cambridge milk-parsley (Selinum carvifolia) is very similar to caraway.
Don’t collect plants growing in the city or at road verges to use as seasoning or for medical purposes!
Urmas Kokassaar has written about caraway in journal „Eesti Loodus“ (in Estonian) – well worth reading: LINK