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Sesamum indicum


Sesamum indicum L.

Family Name: Pedaliaceae
Synonyms: Sesamum orientale L.
Common Name: Sesame, Beniseed, 芝麻 (zhi ma)

Sesame seeds are a valuable source of food in Asia.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
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Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Columnar
Maximum Height 155 cm to 185 cm


Native Distribution Bangladesh, India, West Himalaya
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Naturalised))
CITES Protection False

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Annual herb up to 1.85 m tall.
Foliage Upper leaves are lanceolate, while lower leaves are tri-lobed (7.5 - 12.7 cm long).
Flowers White, tubular flowers hang down from the stem. Bisexual flowers can self-pollinate.
Fruit The seed capsule breaks open to release small, edible seeds.
Cultivation It grows best in well-drained, sandy loam soil and tolerates drought and high heat well. It has moderate tolerance for saline soils, but does not tolerate waterlogged soils.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Seeds
Food (Herb and Spice)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant, Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses General

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Abiotic (Self-Pollinated), Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Dry Soils / Drought


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Typical Foliar Size 7.5 cm to 12.7 cm

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black, Brown, White, Yellow / Golden
Mature Seed Texture(s) Smooth

Image Repository



Master ID 32787
Species ID 7200
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 11 May 2024.

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