Donnerstag, 24. November 2011

Plant of the Day (November 24th) - Origanum vulgare ssp. vulgare L.

Today's Post is about Origanum vulgare L. from the Lamiaceae family. The common name is Oregano, while other names are “Wild Marjoram” (in English) or “Dorst” “Dost” or “Echter Dost” (German)

O. vulgare - habitus

It's a small herb, that can reach heights between 20 and 50 centimetres (7.9 in to 19.7 in). Like at the most Lamiaceae, the leaves of O. vulgare are arranged after the cross-opposite leaf-pattern. They're egg-shaped and have a simple edge (sometimes, the edge is slightly serrated). The stalk grows upright and is (like the leaves) covered with many oil-glands. Normally, it's dull green but in some cases red overflooded.

The bracts are deep purple

O. vulgare - habiuts

The inflorescences are double cymes, which forms fake umbels, which are also known “corymb” (a form of the panicle). The pink petals of the flowers are cygomorph; a typical character of the Lamiaceae. Two of the five petals are fused to an upper lip, while the lower petal is called the “under lip”

O. vulgare is a very aromatic plant, which is rich of essential oils, which give the species a very aromatic taste.

O. vulgare - habitus

Originally, this species is native to the Mediterranean Area, but natural stocks can also be found in all temperate areas of Middle Europe, while the plant is cultivated all over the World.
Wild Oregano grows on warm, sunny places on lime. You can find it e. g. in warm, bright forests or on rocky slopes.

O. vulgare, especially the sub-species ssp. viridium is a popular spice, which is used in the Spain, Italian and Greece. Probably, it's best known for its role as spice for pizzas. However, I think, that my photos show O. vulgare ssp. vulgare, the wild form, but this form is also very aromatic (I've smelled it ;-))

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