Difference Between Cumin and Fennel


Main Difference

The difference between cumin and fennel is that cumin comes from the Cuminum cyminum plant whereas fennel comes from the Foeniculum vulgare plant.

Cumin vs. Fennel

Cumin and fennel seeds are being used overages for cooking and several other reasons. Cumin seeds are obtained from a plant whose botanical name is Cuminum Cyminum whereas fennel comes from a plant whose botanical name is Foeniculum vulgare plant. Cumin is usually brown in color whereas fennel seeds are greenish in color. Both the seeds belong to Apiaceae family. The herbal plant cumin grows up to thirty to fifty centimeters tall and fennel grows up to two and a half meters tall (2.5m). Only seeds of the plant are edible when it comes to cumin, but for the fennel seeds and stem, both are edible. The seeds of cumin are long for about four to ten millimeter long and longitudinally ridged; in addition to it, these are oblong in shape. The seeds of fennel are also of the same size and shape but are aromatic and used for flavoring. Cumin is rich in iron whereas fennel has a sufficient concentration of dietary fiber and minerals. Cumin was firstly found in eastern Mediterranean and India while fennel has originated from the shores of Mediterranean countries.


Comparison Chart

Cuminum cyminumFoeniculum vulgare
Size of Plant
thirty to fifty centimeter talltwo and a half meter tall (2.5m)
Size of Seed
four to ten millimeter longfour to ten millimeter long
Colour of Seed
Yellow or brown in colorGreen in color
Aromatic Property
Simply aromatic in natureHighly aromatic in nature
Edible Property
Only seeds are edibleSeed and stem both are edible
Colour of Flower
White or pink in colorYellow in color
Shape of Seed
Oblong in shape and longitudinally ridgedOblong in shape
East Mediterranean and IndiaIn shores of Mediterranean countries

What is Cumin?

Cumin is a perennial herb that belongs to the carrot family and is a flowering plant. The plant has feathery leaves and beautiful small flowers that are usually yellow in color and are forty centimeters long. It was found primarily in East Mediterranean and India, but now due to the advancement of technology and science in agriculture, it is being cultivated in many parts of the world. Science has proven many medical uses of cumin and is thus also used for several reasons including medication and cooking purposes. It cures specific skin orders, hair loss and anaemia. Moreover, it also helps to prevent the mucous formation in the respiratory tract and dandruff problems. It improves digestion and is used in many remedies by Asian women mostly, i.e. for several face packs. The seeds of cumin are dried in western and Asian countries and are used as an essential ingredient in cooking. Besides, it is also used for garnishing dishes. Apart from the kitchen uses it is also used for the production of oil and alcohol. These are used in the ground and whole form both. Cumin is a good source of iron and besides the presence of iron, it has many other metabolites such as Cuminaldehyde, cymene, and terpenoids in it due to which these are healthy to consume too. When it comes to the taste of seed, it is an excellent combination of earthy, musky and slightly bitter and a spicy which is hit to our taste buds after a few moments of intake.

What is Fennel?

Fennel from Kingdom: Plantae, Genus: Foeniculum and Species: vulgare has distinguished mesmerizing aroma. It was firstly found in the shores of Mediterranean countries. The seeds of the plant are greenish in color. The stem has a bulb-like shape and is edible too as seeds. The leaves of the plant are approximately forty centimeters long. The plant is very delicate and grows up to two and a half meters long. The seeds of the plant when dried are very aromatic and taste good too. The taste could be explained as they are sweet, light and fresh and have an earthy scent. The seeds when they get aged they change their color to grey. It is a very widely used household spice and is used for cooking. It has many medical uses as well. It helps to cure heartburn, bloating and diarrhea. It helps to increase the immunity of the body and helps improving digestion and appetite. It is very useful for patients with constipation and removes flatulence. It is being used since ages for treatment of a cough and bronchitis as a household remedy.


Key Differences

  1. Cumin comes from the Cuminum cyminum plant whereas fennel comes from the Foeniculum vulgare plant.
  2. The cumin plant is 30 to 50cm tall and the fennel plant is about 2.5m tall.
  3. The seeds of cumin are four to ten millimeter long and are yellow or brown in color while that of fennel are greenish in color.
  4. Only seeds of cumin plant are edible whereas seeds and stem both are edible in case of fennel.
  5. The flowers of the cumin plant are white and pink in color, but the flowers of the fennel plant are yellow in color.
  6. The cumin plant was primarily found in East Mediterranean and India, and the fennel plant was basically located in shores of Mediterranean countries.
  7. Fennel is more used as after food digestive and seasoning purposes whereas cumin is used more during cooking as a spice.


Cumin and fennel both are very similar to each other but are very different plants when it comes to their taste, aroma and uses. Both are used as a culinary product, but fennel is more used as after food digestive and seasoning purposes whereas cumin is used more during cooking as a spice for flavoring the dish and for garnishing the recipe too.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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