Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Niger Plant, Niger Seed
Guizotia abyssinica

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Guizotia (gee-ZOH-tee-a) (Info)
Species: abyssinica (a-biss-IN-ee-kuh) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By nyger02
Thumbnail #1 of Guizotia abyssinica by nyger02


No positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Magpye On Sep 7, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:

The Niger plant and Niger-seed .. is NOT in any way associated to the 'thistle' plant or seed!

Niger is indigenous to Ethiopia where it is grown in rotation to cereals and pulses. It is a seed crop cultivated in Ethiopia, India, Myanmar, and Nepal, and is imported into the USA primarily as bird seed.

The imported seed to the USA .. is heat-treated to 'devitalize' any weed-seeds that may be present - to prevent them from germinating. Niger-seed is the only major wild bird feed ingredient imported from overseas. In 1985, the US Department of Agriculture ruled heat treatment as a condition of entry. It has been marketed as bird seed for about 40 years.

Niger is an annual dicotyledonous herb. It is traditionally harvested while the buds are still yellow, then stacked to dry. The seeds, loosely held in the flower head, are black, club-shaped and narrowly long.

In general, Niger is a crop of the cooler parts of the tropics. The major niger-producing areas in Ethiopia are characterized by a moderate temperature ranging between 15 - 23 degrees centigrade during the growing season.

In Ethiopia, it is cultivated on water-logged soils where most crops and all other oil-seeds fail to grow .. and contributes a great deal to soil conservation and land rehabilitation.

Niger is cultivated primarily for valuable oil which is used in foods, paints, soaps, and as a illuminant

The seeds can be used for human consumption .. fried, or as a condiment.

It constitutes about 50% of Ethiopian and 3% Indian oilseed production.

The Niger plant is consumed by sheep, but not by cattle .. to which only Niger silage can be fed.

Niger is also used as a green manure for increasing soil organic matter.

The parasitic weed species, known as Dodder (Cuscuta campestris) and (Cuscuta chinensis) .. have become a serious threat to Niger production throughout Ethiopia and India.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

South Yuba City, California
Decatur, Illinois
Lakeville, Minnesota
Saint Louis, Missouri
Pittstown, New Jersey
Bismarck, North Dakota
Portland, Oregon
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mitchell, South Dakota
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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