- Guizotia abyssinica
Guizotia abyssinica achenes Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids Order: Asterales Family: Asteraceae Genus: Guizotia Species: G. abyssinica Binomial name Guizotia abyssinica
Guizotia oleifera DC.
Guizotia abyssinica 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 Ethiopia. Common names include: noog/nug (Ethio-Semitic ኑግ nūg); niger, nyger, nyjer, or niger seed; ramtil or ramtilla; inga seed; and blackseed.
The seed, technically a fruit called an achene, is often sold as birdseed as it is a favourite of finches, especially the Goldfinch and the Greenfinch. In the birdseed market, Nyjer is often sold or referred to as thistle seed. This is a misnomer resulting from early marketing of the seed as "thistle" to take advantage of the finches' preference for thistle.
The Wild Bird Feeding Industry (WBFI) has trademarked the name Nyjer so as not to confuse it with the less desirable thistle seed.
In 1982 the USDA ordered that imported niger seed must be heat sterilized to kill the contaminant dodder seed. This treatment, however, was insufficient to kill seeds of other Federal noxious weeds, including Asphodelus fistulosus (onion weed), Digitaria spp. (includes African couchgrass), Oryza spp. (red rice), Paspalum scrobiculatum (kodo millet), Prosopis spp. (includes mesquites), Solanum viarum (tropical soda apple), Striga spp. (witchweed), and Urochloa panicoides (liver-seed grass). In 2001 a new treatment required that imported niger seed must be heat treated at 120 °C (248 °F) for 15 minutes.
In 2002 the variety EarlyBird Niger was developed and adapted to the United States by Glenn Page. Guizotia abyssinica is not a Federal noxious weed and is now in commercial agricultural production in the United States.
Niger seeds are also used in southern parts of India. In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Niger seeds (called valisalu/valasulu, uchellu/gurellu and Karale in Telugu, Kannada and Marathi respectively) are used to make a dry chutney which is used as an accompaniment with breads. They are also used as a spice in some curries.
- Plants for a Future database
- Multilingual taxonomic information from the University of Melbourne
- James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops (unpublished)
- Nigerseed: Specialty Grain Opportunity for Midwestern US
- Ethiopian Plant Names By Aberra Molla
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