Kala Zira (Bunium pencicum)
kala Zira has been found growing wild in the district of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and tehsil Pangi and Bharmour of Chamba. Realizing its importance as a spice and more valuable seed in Ayurvedic medicines, farmers can have a gross income of fifteen to twenty thousand rupees per hectare by growing kala zira. It, being a perennial crop, does not require planting year after year. Through experimental trials, it has been possible to domesticate kala zira in higher elevations (arid zone) ranging from 1,850 to 3,100 m above seal level. The natural habitats of the plant are low rainfall are as during summer (150-450 mm), accompanied with heavy snowfall in winter (2-5 m). After over-wintering, the bulbs start sprouting with the onset of spring after the snow melts. Low rainfall during the vegetative, flowering and maturity stages help in developing flavour and quality seeds. The flower initiation occurs only after the bulbs attain three years of age. At present, only the local material is being multiplied. Collections from different zones are being made and the germplasm is under study to know if there is any genetic variability.