Anethum dill plant

(a-nee' thum)

Common name: Dill

Family: Apiaceae, Carrot

Height x width: 3' x 18-24"

Growth rate: moderate to fast


Foliage: blue-green, very fine texture from needle-like leaf segments from leaves cut and divided many times, hollow stem (fennel has a solid stem, otherwise is similar)


Flowers: small and yellow in a highly-scented compound umbel 4" wide; seeds are elliptic and ribbed, 1/16" long 

(photo courtesy, PatriciaR)

Hardiness: annual

Soil: well-drained, fertile

Light: sun

Pests and problems: seedling damping-off

Landscape habit, uses: lacy foliage for fine texture in borders, herb gardens.

Culinary--gather young leaves, pick flowering tops as heads begin to form, harvest seeds by hanging brown flower head over a cloth; dry ripe seeds, dry or freeze leaves; use flower heads or seed to make dill vinegar; use whole or ground leaves or seeds in cooking; use leaves or whole flower head for pickles; chopped leaves excellent in sour cream and cucumbers.

Cosmetic--chew to sweeten breath; crush seeds and infuse for a nail-strenghtening bath

Medicinal--use in a salt-free diet as salt substitute, use dill water for many stomach complaints and insomnia

Other interest: native to southwest Asia; genus name from the Greek anethon for dill; refered to in the Bible as a form of tax payment, used medicinally by ancient Egyptians and by Greeks for hiccups, used in Middle Ages to protect against witchcraft and by magicians, brought by early settlers to North America where in addition to culinary uses was given to children to chew on during long sermons.

Other culture: difficult to transplant due to long taproot, reseeds readily (harvest seeds before fully ripe to prevent), usually needs staking; plants bolt (flower and seed prematurely) in dry weather; sow monthly in rows 24" apart; don't plant near fennel as they cross pollinate and create off-flavors in seeds.

Propagation: seed (20.000-27,000 per ounce)


graveolens (gra-vee-o' lens)--Common Dill, main species

sowa (so' wah)--Indian Dill, more pungent and bitter than common dill, used fresh in steamed rice and soups, grown extensively in India and Japan, an essential ingredient in curry powder

Cultivars: (of graveolens)
Cultivars other
'Bouquet' dwarf (30") compact version of species
'Dukat' strong flavor, high oil content, dark green
'Fernleaf' dark green, 18" tall, slow to bolt, good in pots, AAS award
'Hercules' best fresh leaf variety, tetraploid, slow to flower
'Tetra Leaf' dark green, bushy, slow to bolt
'Vierling' bluish-green leaves, strong stems, popular cut flower in Europe

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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