Ajowan(redirected from ajowans)
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(Trachyspermum), a genus of plants of the Urn-belliferae family. About 20 species of ajowan flourish in Africa and Asia. The fragrant ajowan (azhgon and Indian caraway—Latin names, Trachyspermum ammi and Carum ajowan) is an annual plant which is the strain of greatest commercial interest. The stalk stands erect and is ramose. The leaves are bipinnatifid or tripinnatifid, with finely cut distal lobules. The plant has small, white or violet flowers in a complex umbel. The fruits are small and ovate and have a strong characteristic fragrance and a somewhat rough texture because of numerous bladder-like patillae. The natural homeland of the fragrant ajowan is India, where it has been cultivated for a long time. In addition, it is cultivated in North Africa, East Africa, Argentina, Iran, Afghanistan, and Asia Minor, and since 1934 in the USSR (in Middle Asia) for the production of essential oils. Its fruits contain 2.5–10 percent essential oil, 15–30 percent fatty oil, and about 15 percent proteins. The essential oil contains up to 50 percent thymol, which has strong antiseptic properties.