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Honey from a Weed

By Patience Gray

Published 1986

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Basil with parsley, giant, single- and curly-leaved, mint, coriander grown for its wonderfully fragrant leaves as well as perfumed seeds, and the green celery cultivated as a herb in Italy and Greece are the culinary herbs which are better cultivated than wild.

Shrubby evergreen plants like rosemary, myrtle, juniper, the various thymes, wild marjoram (origano), winter savory, are infinitely more fragrant in the wild. This also applies to the scented leaves of the bay laurel, native in the south, where even its bark is perfumed. The fennel seeds and fronds used in southern cooking derive from the wild plant, having greater pungency. The sage, Salvia triloba, growing wild in Greece is more delicate than S officinalis, the cultivated herb, and so is wild clary, S verbenaca, growing on Italian mountainsides. (For more about all these plants, see the final chapter.)