Asafetida (Ferula foetida) is also known as hing or ferula, is an edible and medicinal herb which is used in small quantity in food items.
It is a perennial plant which grows widely in Afghanistan and Iran.
It attains a height of up to 12 feet in wild with a circular mass of 30-40 cm leaves. It has foul smell for which it is called devil's dung. The foul odor comes from the resin like gum which is extracted from stem and root. This resin gum is further used in different forms as a spice in food items.
The stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 2.5-3 m high and 10 m thick and hollow. These flowering stems have number of schizogenous ducts in the cortex containing resinous gum.
The flowers are small and dirty yellow colored produced in large compound umbels. Fruit of this plant is oval, thin, flat, reddish brown in color and contains milky substance. Roots are thick, massive and pulpy.