Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm tall and is harvested by hand. It is an annual herbaceous plant. The stem is colored grey or dark green. The leaves are 5–10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, with thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels.
Cumin seeds have eight ridges with oil canals.

Confusion with other spices
Cumin is sometimes confused with caraway (Carum carvi), another spice in the parsley family (Apiaceae). Cumin, though, is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger. Many Slavic and Uralic languages refer to cumin as "Roman caraway" or "spice caraway". The distantly related Bunium persicum and Bunium bulbocastanum and the unrelated Nigella sativa are both sometimes called black cumin .
Cumin was a significant spice for the Minoans in ancient Crete.  The ancient Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), it has been used for millennia as a traditional ingredient in innumerable recipes, and forms the basis of many other spice blends.
Since cumin is often used as part of bird food, the premium Iranian cumin is exporting  to many countries, the plant can occur as an introduced species in many territories.