categoryZUnderShrubs UnderShrubs List 
categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 
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WILD MARJORAM

OREGANO

Origanum vulgare

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]  

month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept

category
category8UnderShrubs
 
category
category8Deciduous
 
category
category8Broadleaf
 
status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8pink
 
inner
inner8purple
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZclustered
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8aromatic smell8herbal smell8marjoram smell8oregano smell8spaghetti bolognese
herbal

31st July 2007, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


31st July 2007, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


31st July 2007, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are pinkish when open, but dark purple in bud.


31st July 2007, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


31st July 2007, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


15th July 2005, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Showing the deep-purple bracts.


21st Aug 2004, Hampsfell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Showing the purple bracts.


31st July 2007, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are slightly toothed and the stems round, sparsely hairy, and dark red or brownish.


Some similarities to : Large Thyme, but Large Thyme grows only to half the 50cm height typical of Marjoram.

Distinguishing Feature : The strong oregano smell of the leaves when rolled between the fingers.

Unlike most of the Dead-Nettle/Mint Family, Marjoram does not have square stems but round.

The leaves of Marjoram (or oregano) are used as herbs in cooking, especially Italian cooking such as spaghetti bolognese, pizza and tomato dishes. They have a strong aromatic odour. The dark purplish bracts of the flowers yield a reddish dye.

The essential oil derived from Marjoram is a powerful antiseptic, and is used in room fresheners and fragrant aerosol sprays.

Estragole is a slightly toxic isomer of Anethole (found in Sweet Cicely and Aniseed), only the position of the double-bond has changed. Estragole is present in only a few hundred ppm quantities in the plant. It is present in much greater concentrations (up to 75%) in the essential oils of Basil and Tarragon. Estragole is used in perfumes and flavourings, but its further use is being re-appraised; it is suspected of being both carcinogenic and genotoxic; t has been shown that Estragole can give animals tumours.

Marjoram also contains Camphor present at 2% concentration in the essential oils of Marjoram.

Marjoram is a strongly aromatic perennial to half a metre in height, possibly to be included in shrubs or undershrubs. Habitat is dry grassland usually on lime. Many cultivars of Wild Marjoram are grown as herbs in gardens.

Note that the Genus name Origano has a different spelling to the common name Oregano

There is also another herb with a similar name, Pot Marjoram (Origanum onites) which is a rare casual in the UK and is originally from North |Africa and South West Asia. The only visual difference between Wild Marjoram and Pot Marjoram is that the flower is split almost the way down on one side and thus it consists of just a single lip.


  Origanum vulgare  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lamiaceae  

Distribution
family8mint family8Dead-Nettle family8Labiatea family8Lamiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Origanum
Origanum
(Wild Marjoram)

WILD MARJORAM

OREGANO

Origanum vulgare

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]  

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