love-in-a-mist, hardy annual garden plant ( Nigella damascena ) of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), having finely cut foliage and blue or white flowers surrounded by a cluster of thready bracts. It is also called fennel-flower—as are other plants of the genus—and devil-in-the-bush. The seeds have been used medicinally. Seeds of another species ( N. sativa ) are called black cumin and have been used in the Old World for seasoning; they are thought to be the fitch of the Bible (Isa. 28.25, 27). True cumin and true fennel are unrelated plants of the parsley family. Love-in-a-mist is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ranunculales, family Ranunculaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.