Origanum vulgare
Family: Lamiaceae

Oregano and marjoram are very similar in appearance and both have similar culinary uses. Oregano, however, has a coarser texture and a somewhat stronger flavor than the herb we know as marjoram. The light green foliage is somewhat firmer. The small, white flowers of both are almost impossible to tell apart. Described as a subshrub, it is generally a sprawl­ing plant which grows 30-90 cm (12-36 in) high. In mediaeval times it was used as a strew­ing herb and for making scented bags and pil­lows. Today it has extensive culinary use, added to pizza and pasta, rice dishes and meat and vegetable dishes. Its pungency increases on drying. It is an important ingredient of many traditional dishes of the countries around the Mediterranean, such as Italy and France.


Oregano can be grown in any well-drained soil, but must have full sun all day. It can be grown from seed sown in spring, or from cuttings taken in later spring through summer. Fertilizer is not needed and plants grown 'hard' have a better flavor. Water heavily when the soil is dry but do not overwater. Harvest leaves for drying just before the plants reach full bloom in late summer or autumn. Cut stems and hang in bunches in a cool, airy place. When the bunches are partially dry, tie net or muslin around them so the dried leaves do not autumn to the ground. Store dried leaves in airtight jars. Cutting stems for drying may be all the pruning that is needed, but plants generally need replac­ing every three or four years, or even less, as they become sparse or woody.


Zone 5.

Orange      Ornithogalum