FITCH, FITCHES (כֻּסֶּ֫מֶת, H4081, קֶ֖צַח). In
Fitches are members of the Ranunculus family, and produce an abundance of black seeds. It is these that are used as pungent flavoring.
The tr. “fitch” is unfortunate, as the qeṩath is not a vetch. The plant undoubtedly is the Nigella sativa, sometimes called “The Nutmeg Flower,” though it certainly is not a true nutmeg. This Biblical Nigella is related to the annual grown in the garden, called “Love in the Mist.” Its flowers are like the buttercup, and the fruit pods contain large quantities of tiny black seeds.
In the Holy Land, the Arabs call it “kasah,” which is similar to the qeşath of the Hebrews. The use of these seeds in bread is said to make it more wholesome.
The plant is still grown in Pal. and the seeds are beaten out of the capsules with a flail.