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Mystery Herb

Posted by RitaLynn Canada (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 13:28

Hi all!

I've been growing this herb in my apartment garden over the past couple of weeks. When I bought the seedling, it was labeled as "golden marjoram." However, when I did a google search to see how to use golden marjoram, none of the images seemed to match the plant that I have. Does anyone know what this herb is? It smells like it might be part of the oregano family. And I know it's a little leggy, I'll be clipping it later today. :)

Rita Lynn

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mystery Herb

Here's another photo of the same plant.

RE: Mystery Herb

It does look like a marjoram--though the leaves are a little bit more rounded than I'm used to. There are so many kinds of each herb out now (what is the point of oregano scented thyme anyone?) that the stock photos get a little confused. My preferred type of marjoram has the slightly rounded leaves, as compared to some of the marjorams I've seen in greenhouses lately that look more like oregano with a more pointed leaf.

If you're not completely sure, I wouldn't use it for cooking, despite the smell. I don't know of any marjoram lookalikes that might not be safe, but others are much more versed in that than I. It's pretty, and if it smells nice, that's fun too, but there are so many that are meant to be ornamental (golden oregano).

RE: Mystery Herb

I'm not sure but I think I would move it to a pot with holes/drainage - it appears as though you have it in a glass cup? Your plant root's can rot if you do not give it proper drainage.


RE: Mystery Herb

It looks like marjoram, one kind or another. Before reading OP's description, soon as I saw the picture "Oregano" popped up in my mind. In reality Marjoram is some kind of oregano, but it is much mellow and mild

RE: Mystery Herb

Thanks for all the feedback, folks! Much appreciated.

Balloonflower: Yeah, I think I'll avoid ingesting it in anyway. It's a really cute plant, and I think I'll just keep it around as an ornamental herb. I just love the little leaves! And it's nice to just smell it every once in a while, too. Thanks for all the detailed feedback! :)

RE: Mystery Herb

Well, marjoram and oregano are the same genus of plant and to some people, their fragrances are similar.

Marjoram leaves are often of different shape than oregano leaves, But the shape of the leaves can vary even on the same plant. So that's an unreliable indicator

The situation with all the Origanums can be confusing with so many species and sub-species as well as hybrids. Identification of an Origanum usually requires at least having the plant in bloom, and even then identification can be difficult.

Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ (Gold Oregano) is very distinctive when growing alongside other Origanums because the gold foliage really stands out. But if growing by itself with nothing to compare it to, even that can be confusing.

For culinary purposes, plants that would key down to the same thing botanically often present quite different flavor profiles. A prudent cook will not trust botanical identification or even a plant label and will always sample the leaves.

In any case, if you plan to keep it in a pot, I would definitely follow the previous advice and move it to one that has good drainage,

This post was edited by nickl on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 9:32

RE: Mystery Herb

Nickl, and fatamorgana: Yes, you're right. I will transfer the plant to a different pot with better drainage, toute suite! I just figured with the huge amount of sun that the plants get in my window that root rot wouldn't be a problem. Still, I shouldn't assume anything and just let those roots drain!

Also:"For culinary purposes, plants that would key down to the same thing botanically often present quite different flavor profiles. A prudent cook will not trust botanical identification or even a plant label and will always sample the leaves." Yup, you're right there, too! I just hesitate putting anything in my mouth without knowing what it actually is (even being the prudent cook that I am)! Thanks again for the advice and feedback!

RE: Mystery Herb

Hello Rita Lynn:

I would never suggest tasting a completely unknown plant of any kind.

However, this is clearly one of the Origanums. While we may not be able to get more specific at this point, we can certainly identify it to that extent. So I would have no hesitation to taste it.

RE: Mystery Herb

You can taste it, and if still not sure, just spit it out, rinse your mouth. I taste a lot of wild stuff like that.'
If it looks like a duck, qwacks like a duck, walks like a duck ... it is a duck. This is my opinion only.

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