Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Joy of the Mountain

Oregano (Lat. Origanum - meaning Joy of the Mountain)
 First recorded in Britain in the tenth century, this ancient herb had many medicinal purposes from curing dropsy to toothache, rheumatism to hay fever.  It was also used as a strewing herb, especially to spread on the floor of the bridal chamber.  Elizabethan cottagers used it to flavour meat dishes, in salads and as an infusion just as we do today.

Oregano - this woody perennial has dark green, pungent leaves, and clusters of  dark pink flowers in late summer.  The leaves have a powerful, peppery flavour, used in Italian pizza and tomato dishes and bouquet garni.
Pot Marjoram - this mound-forming, small, shrubby perennial has reddish stems, late summer flowers, and aromatic savoury green leaves of a colour that comes between the grey-green of Sweet Marjoram and the darker Oregano.  The new spring leaves tend towards golden green.  The leaves are generally milder than Oregano, especially in hot countries.  Stems laid across barbeque embers add a faint flavour to food.  The flowers will encourage butterflies and bees into the garden, and seed-heads provide winter fare for birds.
Sweet Marjoram - this half-hardy perennial, biennial or annual has rooting stems, aromatic hairy leaves and white to mauve flowers producing knot like seed clusters.  The leaves have a sweeter, spicier taste than the other two and is a popular culinary herb.  The oil of this plant is added to perfumes and cosmetics.  Found naturally on the hillsides of the Mediterranean and Turkey.


  1. I must admit I get muddled up with organo and marjoram, thanks for helping me understand!