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Sesame is an erect annual that grows to a height of 20-60 inches, Finest Grains -Natural Sesame depending upon the variety and the growing conditions. Some varieties are highly branched, while others are unbranched. Leaves are variable in shape and size and may be opposite or alternate. The bell-shaped white to pale rose flowers begin to develop in the leaf axils after plantation of 6-8 weeks and this continues for several weeks. Sesame seeds are small and vary in color. One Thousand seeds weigh about one ounce. The lighter colored seeds are considered high quality. Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. It was a highly prized crop of Babylon and Assyria at least 4,000 years ago. Today India is the world's largest producers of sesame followed by Burma, Sudan, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela, Turkey, Uganda, China and Ethiopia. Sesame was introduced to the United States in the 1930's. Domestic production has been limited because of lack of cultivators that can be harvested mechanically. In 1987, the sesame average in this country was less than 2500 acres, about half of which were in Texas. The U.S. Imports about 40,000 tons of seed and 2,200 tons of sesame seed annually.


Sesame is grown primarily for its oil-rich seeds, which come in a variety of colors, from cream-white to charcoal-black. In general, the paler varieties of sesame seem to be more valued in the West and Middle East, while the black varieties are prized in the Far East. The small sesame seed is used whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavor (although such heating damages their healthful polyunsaturated fats), and also yields sesame oil.


Commercial Varieties Commercial varieties of sesame require 90 to 120 frost free days. Daytime temperatures of 77-80 degree Fahrenheit are optimal. Sesame is very drought-tolerant, due in part to an extensive root system. However it requires adequate moisture for germinations and early growth and annual rainfall of 20-26 inches per season is necessary for reasonable yields. Sesame has a very low salt Tolerance and cannot tolerate wet conditions.