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Origanum vulgare

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, scrub, seaside, wasteland.

Purple, 5 petals
Marjoram produces small, delicate flowers that are typically clustered in tight groups. The flowers have a subtle beauty, featuring shades of white or pale pink. These blooms form in compact, terminal spikes and add a touch of elegance to the herb. The inflorescence of Marjoram is composed of numerous tiny tubular flowers, creating a visually appealing display when the herb is in bloom.
Marjoram produces small, rounded fruits known as "nutlets." These nutlets develop after the flowering stage and are typically brown or tan in colour. Each nutlet contains seeds and is housed within the calyx of the spent flower. While the fruit of Marjoram is not the primary focus of cultivation or culinary use, its presence contributes to the plant's reproductive cycle. The nutlets are small and inconspicuous, complementing the herb's overall appearance.
Olive-green, oval leaves, up to 2.5cm long. The leaves are in opposite pairs along the stems. Leaf margins are either smooth or shallowly toothed and the tips of the leaves can be either pointed or blunt.
Marjoram possesses a delightful and aromatic fragrance. The leaves of the plant release a warm and slightly sweet scent, with hints of citrus and earthiness. This aromatic profile is a key characteristic that contributes to marjoram's popularity as a culinary herb. Whether used fresh or dried, the appealing aroma of marjoram enhances the sensory experience of dishes, providing a subtle yet distinctive fragrance that complements a variety of cuisines.
Other Names:
English Marjoram, European Oregano, Grove Marjoram, Mountain Mint, Oregano, Pot Marjoram, Spanish Thyme, Wild Marjoram, Winter Marjoram, Wintersweet.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Origanum vulgare, also known as oregano, is a species of perennial herb that is native to Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean region. It is a fragrant herb that is commonly used in cooking and has a strong, pungent flavor and aroma. The plant typically grows to about 20-80 cm tall and has square, hairy stems. The leaves are oval and slightly hairy, and it produces small, pink or white flowers in the summer. Oregano is commonly used as a spice for various dishes, particularly in Mediterranean, Mexican and Italian cuisine. Oregano is also used as a medicinal plant and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.


Oregano, scientifically known as Origanum vulgare, is a popular herb used in cooking and traditional medicine. This aromatic herb is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. In this blog, we will explore the characteristics, benefits, and uses of the Oregano plant.


Oregano is a perennial herb that grows up to 80 cm in height. It has a woody stem and small leaves that are green-grey in color. The leaves are oval-shaped and are around 1-4 cm in length. The plant produces small white or pink flowers in clusters at the top of the stem. Oregano has a strong, pungent aroma and a slightly bitter taste.


Oregano is known for its numerous health benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants and has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Oregano also contains essential oils, such as thymol and carvacrol, which have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Culinary Uses

Oregano is a popular herb used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. It is used to flavor dishes such as pizza, pasta sauces, and meat dishes. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and the dried leaves have a more concentrated flavor.

Medicinal Uses

Oregano has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. It has been traditionally used to treat respiratory and digestive problems, such as coughs, colds, and indigestion. Oregano tea is a popular remedy for sore throats, coughs, and congestion.

Oregano oil is also widely used for its antimicrobial properties. It can be used topically to treat skin infections, such as acne and athlete's foot. Oregano oil is also used to treat digestive problems, such as bloating and diarrhea.


Oregano is an easy-to-grow herb that can be grown in pots or in the garden. It prefers well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Oregano can be propagated by seeds or cuttings, and it grows well in most climates.

Oregano is a versatile herb with numerous health benefits. Its culinary uses make it a popular ingredient in many dishes, while its medicinal properties make it a valuable addition to traditional medicine. Oregano is also easy to grow and adds a beautiful touch to any garden. Whether you use it for its flavor or its health benefits, Oregano is a plant worth incorporating into your life.


There are several varieties of Oregano, including Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, and Mexican Oregano. Greek Oregano, also known as wild marjoram, is the most commonly used variety for cooking. Italian Oregano has a slightly sweeter flavor and is often used in tomato-based dishes. Mexican Oregano has a citrusy flavor and is commonly used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine.

Nutritional value

Oregano is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and manganese. It is also high in fiber and low in calories, making it a healthy addition to your diet.

Other uses

Apart from its culinary and medicinal uses, Oregano has other uses as well. Oregano oil is used in aromatherapy for its calming and relaxing effects. It is also used in the cosmetic industry in skincare products for its antibacterial properties.

Fun fact

In ancient Greece, Oregano was believed to be a symbol of happiness and was used in wedding ceremonies. Brides and grooms would wear wreaths made of Oregano to represent their joyful union.

Oregano is a versatile herb with a rich history and numerous uses. Its health benefits, culinary uses, and easy-to-grow nature make it a valuable addition to any garden or kitchen. Whether you use it for cooking, medicinal purposes, or simply as a decorative plant, Oregano is a herb that is sure to delight.

Historical significance

Oregano has a long history of use in traditional medicine. In ancient Greece, it was used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory and digestive problems. It was also used as a disinfectant for wounds. Oregano was also used by the ancient Egyptians for its medicinal properties and was often used in embalming.


Oregano is a symbol of joy and happiness in many cultures. In addition to its use in wedding ceremonies in ancient Greece, it was also used in traditional Mexican celebrations, such as the Day of the Dead. In Mexican culture, it was believed that Oregano had the power to bring joy and happiness to the living and the dead.

Growing tips

Oregano is an easy herb to grow, but there are a few tips that can help you grow healthy plants. Oregano prefers well-drained soil and full sun. It is best to plant Oregano in the spring or fall, and it can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. When harvesting Oregano, it is best to do so in the morning when the oils are most concentrated.


Oregano is a popular herb used in many recipes. Here are a few ideas for using Oregano in your cooking:

  • Add fresh or dried Oregano to tomato-based dishes, such as pasta sauces and pizza.
  • Use Oregano in marinades for meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Mix Oregano with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.
  • Add Oregano to soups and stews for added flavor.

Oregano is a versatile herb with a rich history and numerous uses. Its significance in traditional medicine, symbolism in different cultures, and easy-to-grow nature make it a valuable addition to any garden or kitchen. Experimenting with Oregano in your cooking can bring a delicious and healthy touch to your meals.

More culinary uses

Oregano is a popular herb used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. It has a slightly bitter and pungent taste that is similar to thyme. Oregano is often used in pizza and tomato-based dishes, as well as in marinades for meat, poultry, and fish. It also pairs well with other herbs, such as basil and parsley.

Medicinal properties

Oregano has several medicinal properties, including antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains several compounds, including carvacrol and thymol, which have been shown to have antimicrobial effects. Oregano oil is often used as a natural remedy for respiratory infections, digestive problems, and skin infections.

Insect repellent

Oregano oil can be used as a natural insect repellent. Its strong aroma is known to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. It can be mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and applied to the skin as a natural bug spray.

Companion planting

Oregano is a great companion plant for many vegetables, including peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. It helps repel pests and attracts beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies. Oregano also helps improve the flavor of vegetables grown nearby.

Cosmetic uses

Oregano oil is often used in cosmetic products, such as soaps and lotions, for its antibacterial properties. It is also used in aromatherapy for its relaxing and calming effects.

In conclusion, Oregano is a versatile herb with a wide range of uses. Its culinary uses, medicinal properties, insect repellent capabilities, and companion planting benefits make it a valuable addition to any garden or home. Using Oregano in cooking or as a natural remedy can help improve your health and well-being.

20 Marvellous Marjoram Facts

  1. Origanum vulgare, commonly known as Marjoram, is a fragrant herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae.
  2. Native to the Mediterranean region, Marjoram has been cultivated for centuries for its culinary and medicinal uses.
  3. The Latin name, Origanum vulgare, reflects its widespread occurrence and popularity.
  4. Marjoram is closely related to oregano but has a milder flavor, making it a versatile herb in the kitchen.
  5. The herb is known for its aromatic leaves, small clusters of white or pink flowers, and woody stems.
  6. Marjoram has historically been associated with joy and happiness, earning it the nickname "joy of the mountains."
  7. Ancient Greeks and Romans used Marjoram in various ceremonies and believed it had protective qualities.
  8. Culinary enthusiasts value Marjoram for its sweet, slightly floral taste that complements a variety of dishes.
  9. The essential oils found in Marjoram include terpinene, terpineol, and sabinene, contributing to its aromatic profile.
  10. In traditional medicine, Marjoram has been utilized for its potential anti-inflammatory and digestive properties.
  11. The herb is easy to cultivate, thriving in well-drained soil and sunny conditions, making it suitable for gardens and containers.
  12. Marjoram's leaves can be harvested fresh or dried and are commonly used to flavor soups, stews, and meats.
  13. Due to its adaptability, Marjoram is a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.
  14. Marjoram possesses antioxidant properties, potentially contributing to its health benefits.
  15. The herb has a history of use in herbal teas, believed to aid digestion and promote relaxation.
  16. Marjoram's essential oils are used in aromatherapy for their calming and stress-relieving effects.
  17. Medicinally, Marjoram has been employed to address respiratory issues and alleviate headaches.
  18. The plant's small, gray-green leaves and delicate flowers add aesthetic appeal to gardens.
  19. Marjoram is sometimes referred to as "sweet marjoram" to distinguish it from other varieties.
  20. Whether used in cooking or enjoyed in gardens, Marjoram continues to be cherished for its pleasant aroma and versatility.


Video 1: Marjoram filmed at Daneway Banks in Gloucestershire on the 27th June 2023.


Video 2: Marjoram filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 24th August 2023.


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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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