Sesame (// or //; Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum, also called benne. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods. World production in 2018 was 6 million tonnes, with Sudan, Myanmar, and India as the largest producers.
Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. Sesamum has many other species, most being wild and native to sub-Saharan Africa. S. indicum, the cultivated type, originated in India and is tolerant to drought-like conditions, growing where other crops fail. Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich, nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world. Like other seeds and foods, it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
From Middle English sysame, sisamie, from Latin sīsamī, genitive singular of Latin sīsamum, sēsamum (compare Medieval Latin sīsaminum, Old French sisamin), from Ancient Greek σήσαμον (sḗsamon, “sesame seed”) and σησάμη (sēsámē, “sesame plant”), from Old Aramaic שושמא (šūššmā), shortening of שומשומא (...