About oregano types

geseekerAugust 8, 2009

Hi, guys!

I've recently done some research about different oregano types, because I myself was confused by it. I posted a thread here some time before, asking question about this very issue:


well, after a search over the internet, i found this website:


which turned out to be very helpful.

it seems that there are three common types: Origanum heracleoticum(Greek Oregano), Origanum majorna(sweet marjoram) and Origanum vulgare(wild marjoram, common marjoram, etc; seems like this sub-species is very common).

well, for me i bought oregano from different vendors, and they turned out to be quite different both in appearance and taste. and i now know that i have greek(O.heracleoticum) and marjoram(O.majorna) so i'm no longer confused. and now i will start looking for the more common O.vulgare.

don't know if this is accurate, appreciate if someone has some suggestions. also i hope this info. can be helpful to others like me, eager to find out the exact type of their oregano.

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You may want to stop looking for O. vulgare. I grew this from seed. It can get tall and readily self-sows. Although my garden was part shade, it became a pest. At first I liked it because the flowering tops dried nicely for dried arrangements but I would consider it an invasive variety.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 9:42AM
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well, right now i wouldn't mind it getting a little invasive. :) my oregano seem to grow too slow to provide me with spices.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 2:39AM
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A couple of things you may want to know.

marjoram is not cold hardy and will die at the first frost.

a spice is generally considered to be the seed or bark of a plant. Leaves are considered to be an herb. So if you are looking at a cookbook you would never find a receipt using oregano or any other leafy herb listed under spices.

there are several different oregano's that are on the market. What you find at one source may be a different plant from another source but both will have the same tag. Vendors generally purchase tags in bulk. Some sticking the tags into anything from the same family.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 12:57AM
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thanks for the heads up! i just use dried oregano leaves in cooking, which now i know is a herb. it's quite uncommon if someone use oregano seeds or bark in cooking, i think. :(

i bought seeds that are labeled as "oregano" but i actually get marjoram, which made me quite unhappy because it smells and tastes so differently. maybe that's one of the reasons that motivated me to find out all about oregano types in the first place. also seed vendors should do a better job labeling their products, don't you think?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:30AM
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You are missing flavors if you restrict yourself only to dried leaves. Many of the herb flowers and/or seed heads have great taste. Many times if used fresh you can not separated the flowers from the seeds so I will use the term flowers. I toss them into soups, salads. A suggestion when using herbs especially fresh ones is to divide into 3 to 4 portions. Use the first portion at the start of a dish. The second about halfway in the cooking. Just before the dish is finished toss the remaining third. Different amounts of time and temperatures release different seasoning into prepared dishes. If you have the final part you can sprinkle on the top when serving, like you see in resturants or serve on the side if family does not like your funny green stuff.

Some like garden sage I pull the flowers off the seed head and use as an decoration to be eatten. That is unless I forget and eat before I get them in the house. Sage and bee balms have a drop of nector at the base of the flowers that is wonderful tasting. You just need to look for bugs in the trumpet of the flower.

Generally oreganos develop a harder layer only on the flower stems but it really is not thick enough to be used as bark. Bees love the flowers and since we need bees and other insects to have food to eat I leave things that they like. Many oreganos will send up a stem with flowers at the top. You may cut and remove the leaves to use then use the stem as a skewer or bunch an place in the cavity of a chicken to roast in the oven.

Part of you difficulty is that you are not familar with plants. A visit to the library or bookstore for a look at books on herbs will send you in all directions. You will see that most have two names, a latin name and a common name. Also you will find which are annual, biennial, or perennial. In the case of the seed packet it had the latin name and somewhere in small print the common name. I normally purchase plants rather than seeds because if you sow all the seeds and they all come up you will have too many plants. Give aways are great but hard to get rid of several hundred plants plus the time you put into them.

Also with plants, I buy the two inch pots, you can touch the leaves to see if you like the smell. When faced with 50 plants you will notice that not all look alike. They are probably from the same source. I look for the ones with the stronger scent and for any that are different in the batch. This is my personal choice.

Welcome to a new confusing world of herbs. Some herbs you will find you use more than others but try as many as you can. There are many here that are much more knowledgable than I am so read everything that is posted.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:18PM
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Well thanks for sharing with me these knowledge so generously! I'll try some fresh oregano leaves next time. I'm just entering the world of gardening so there are a lot that I don't know. Clearly there are many many interesting things to learn, and indeed i need to find some books then sit down and learn, which is a very enjoyable process. If I find something that's helpful to other people, I'll definitely post them here.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 2:32AM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

I have linked a site for you to go to. The confusion in everything with the herbs oregano and marjoram is that marjoram used to have its own genus but now now it is listed under the orefano genus. To ass more confusion to this conversaion there are more than three varieties - there are more than fifty. You will discover there are many ways to use herbs and spices and books are a good way to obtain information and if ou wish to email me privately I can give you several websites where you can obtain marvelous and accurate information from agriculturalists that I have had experience with. I made French Toast this morning and you would be surprised at what I put in the egg mixture to make it pop and sing when eaten. I enjoy playing with herbs and spices in cooking and I also like walking pasts pots I have lning my walkway and smelling the aroma as I brish against them. Have fun and enjoy your new adventure, Linda

Here is a link that might be useful: Oregano

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Hi, Linda! :)

I've read the article you provided me, and it cleared up things a bit for me. But I remember hearing that oregano is a type of marjoram, marjoram being a wild form of oregano. Don't know if that's true. Also did some image search on Google about O.onites, and I found some pics resembling marjoram, which added some more confusion to me... do O.onites resemble marjoram?
It's a surprise that oregano has 50+ varieties!! I wonder if one can see them all and tell their differences... hope I can :)
Anyway, their are a lot to learn and I've found the process to be quite entertaining. I'm looking forward to those website you mentioned.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:30AM
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