Oregano Species

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

  • Origanum vulgare ssp hirtum, the common European oregano of commerce. Currently harvested in NW Turkey, where its local name means ‘black’ oregano. This is an E. Mediterranean ssp, which has a counterpart (ssp glandulosum) in the SW Mediterranean.

  • O. vulgare ssp vulgare, wild marjoram, common in the northern regions of Europe and Asia and naturalized in N. America. The ssp gracile is found in W. Asia. Ssp virens occurs in Spain and Portugal and their islands.

  • O. onites (the species which the great botanist Linnaeus called O. smyrnaeum), the rhigani of Crete, found in the south of Greece and Turkey.

  • O. syriacum, white oregano, called Lebanese oregano in the USA.

  • Thymus capitatus: see thyme.

  • Lippia graveolens, a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and the species most commonly indicated by the term ‘Mexican oregano’ (other Lippia spp are also called orégano in Mexico and C. America).

  • Plectranthus amboinicus, the herb described under spanish thyme.