Coriander

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

coriander also known as cilantro, Coriandrum sativum, a plant of the family Umbelliferae, is related to parsley, for which reason it is sometimes known in the Orient as Chinese parsley. This is a misnomer, in that the strong flavour of its leaves is quite different from that of parsley; but not entirely misleading, since its leaves are used in many tropical and subtropical parts of the world in the same way as parsley leaves are in temperate climates.

The plant reaches a height of 60–90 cm (2–3'), and has a much branched stem and finely divided leaves. The small flowers are white or pinkish. The seeds are two semiglobular fruits joined on the inner sides giving the appearance of a single, smooth globe. They are yellowish brown and have a mild fragrant aroma and a sweet aromatic taste, carrying no flavour of the roots, stems, or leaves.