Please identify this Herb

dragon49(6 NY)August 4, 2009

I have something labeled coriander that clearly is not coriander. Either the nursery mislabeled the herb, or I put the wrong label in the ground.

The taste is VERY STRONG and VERY SPICY. I have posted a picture. The herbs in question are the large ones at the back of the picture. The leaves are green with dark streaks in them.

What the heck is it?? I sincerely hope I have not been eating a weed!

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Looks like Lady's Thumb Persicaria vulgaris which many would consider a weed.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Lady's Thumb

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 3:46PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Vietnamese Coriander/Cilantro Persicaria odorata (syn. Polygonum odorata). Also called Rau ram. A tender perennial used as a cilantro substitute. It has a cilantro-like flavor with a hint of lemon. The semi invasive weed that looks similar is a hardy perennial and does not have the pungent aroma that the herb has-at least not the one that grows in my garden. The weed also flowers while the herb typically does not.

Careless or clueless nurseries may simply label this as cilantro or coriander.

F. DeBaggio

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:15PM
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dragon49(6 NY)

Thanks for the replies.

I looked at the picture of Lady's Thumb Persicaria vulgaris. I then researched Vietnamese Coriander. My Herbs are clearly Vietnamese Coriander.

Look at this picture:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Laksa-bush.jpg

Mystery solved. The nursery mislabeled the herb. At least I have not been eating a weed!

Does coriander have a similar taste?

Thanks again

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:43PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Coriander is the seed (actually a fruit) from the Cilantro plant Coriandrum sativum.

F. DeBaggio

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:55PM
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dragon49(6 NY)

Thank you,

Does Vietnamese Coriander taste like the Cilantro plant Coriandrum sativum.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 9:36PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

dragon49, Glad to see you have something other than a "weed" that you've been eating. If it had popped up in my garden (also NY State), I would have certainly thought that lady's thumb had sprouted up and it wasn't the herb I bought. Lady's thumb is a common weed in my gardens.

francescod, there seems to be confusion across various web sources on whether Persicaria vulgaris is an annual or perennial but it is a annual here in the snowy north. It does, however, self-seed.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 8:38AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

dragon49, yes, they taste similar.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 3:04AM
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lali(z9, Sunset z18, CA)

dragon49 - Did you get this herb from an asian store that sells fresh herbs? I've never seen it in regular box stores. I've been successful growing it from asian grocery store cuttings, but unless I want to make the trek to a predominantly asian area I won't see this herb anywhere.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 6:36PM
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dragon49(6 NY)

I purchased it at a nursery.

Would you like some?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 7:23PM
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lali(z9, Sunset z18, CA)

Thanks, but I already have some growing in my garden. Just curious that it was offered in a nursery. Either it must be quite popular there or there is a sizable asian community around the area.

lali

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 7:31PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Just on a point of semantics which might come in handy. If you ever find yourself referring to UK websites or books, be aware that the word 'coriander' applies to both seed and plant. The term 'cilantro' is not used over here.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:35AM
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defrost49

lali, I started seeing Vietnamese Coriander several years ago at nurseries that had a good selection. This year I bought a plant at an Agway Farm store (although a chain, each store is run as a franchise, I think). I'm in NH. I'm not sure why it has started showing up because it's hard to find recipes using it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 12:39PM
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takadi(7)

You can send me all of your vietnamese coriander, I LOVE it. We eat it with hot vit lot (boiled fetal egg) or balut.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 3:19PM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

I disagree that Vietnamese coriander tastes like cilantro. I like cilantro but do not like the V. coriander AT ALL.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 1:06AM
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herbgal(zone 6 VA)

Yes it is definitely Vietnamese coriander, a poor substitute for the cilantro that many expect when they buy it.
herbgal

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 10:13PM
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