Sesame, an annual herb native to tropical Asia and Africa. There are about 30 species of sesame, but only one is cultivated, primarily for its seeds. Seeds of the cultivated sesame are small, soft, and usually straw-colored. They are used in baking as a topping for breads and cookies, and are a source of a nearly tasteless and odorless oil used in cooking, in medicine, and in industry. The cultivated sesame plant, which grows from one to two feet (30 to 60 cm) in height, has oblong leaves and pink or white flowers.

The cultivated species is Sesamum indicum of the pedalium family, Pedaliaceae.

Sesame seedsSesame seeds are small, soft, and usually straw-colored.