August 24, 2017

Beware of Impostors

Oregano vulgaris - Wild marjoram

Janine Pineo Photo | Oregano vulgaris – Wild marjoram

Think oregano and your mind likely conjures up a nice, warm scent. But not all oregano is made alike. Pictured is Origanum vulgaris, which is actually known as wild marjoram, and is the parent of O. vulgaris hirtum, best known as Greek oregano and considered the best flavored of the oreganos. O. vulgaris still has the scent and taste of oregano, but not as flavorful. As a garden plant, wild marjoram is quite invasive, which comes as no surprise as it is a member of the mint family. It is hardy in Maine to at least Zone 4, growing with abandon once established. It also is easily started from seed. And how can one tell the difference between the two varieties? The flower. O. vulgaris is a pink to purple blossom, while Greek oregano is pure white.