Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Origan. Labiate

Appears in

Perennial. Apparently seeds are available, but it is likely that the bundles of dried oregano available in Italian shops will be more interesting than the seeded product (Southern California might lend itself to a production of good quality). There are endless varieties (according to Tom Stobart, there are at least ten varieties in Greece alone, of varying flavors and intensities, all known indigenously as rígani). The Cretan oregano is so different from the others that it takes a different name—in English, that of “dittany”—and it is said that Mexico adds to the confusion by applying the name to other herbs as well . . . In my own experience, the Greek varieties are by far the most powerful, that of southern Italy (apparently Origanum onites) is still more pungent than the French varieties, but that which I know from the hillsides here is the finest—the same, however, growing wild in other parts of France, under another sun and from an earth less rude, is of relatively little interest. Oregano grows wild in England as well, but the quality corresponds to the climate.