Oregano is a perennial plant well known as a kitchen herb. The ancient Greek words that the name derives from translate as 'brightness of the mountain'. The small ovate leaves, growing on a woody-based mound, are aromatic and bear small pink flowers in Summer through to early Autumn (bee plant!). Easily propagated by division in Spring, which is also the time to prune back the flowered stems. Will look lovely in a herb border or a rock garden, and of course a must have in the kitchen garden. Does fine in containers. A staple herb of the Italian cuisine with a warm and aromatic flavour, it is often used when roasting or grilling meat, vegetables and fish. The flavour becomes stronger when the leaves are dried.
Oregano is sometimes called Wild Marjoram, which is often cause for confusion! There is a slight difference between Oregano species (Oregano vulgare) and Marjoram species (Oregano majorana). They do look very alike; after all, they are botanically related. Marjoram has leaves which are slightly hairy and more gray-green in color, while oregano has olive-green colored leaves. The real difference lies in the flavour of the leaves. Oregano tastes a little more pungent - woodsy and warm. Marjoram is slightly sweeter and more gentle.
Site: Tolerates exposure
Position: Full sun to part shade
Season of Interest: Aromatic, culinary use, pollinator plant
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height: 1.5-3ft (0.5-1m) Spread: 1.5-3ft (0.5-1m)