Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not Your Typical Oregano!

Actually Cuban Oregano (not a true oregano) Plectranthus amboinicus (what a mouthful) is known by a lot of other names: Spanish or French thyme; Mexican or Indian mint and country borage. It is native to the tropics and best grown as a pot plant. The Victorians used it as a bedding plant. If it is grown outside, it requires warm weather. It stops growing when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F. If lightly frosted, it goes to mush. This plant above is a second year plant! They are fast growers. Don't dry the leaves. They are a favorite in Jamaican and other tropical cuisines. In India, where the herb is known as Suganda, the leaves are dipped in batter and fried. My information comes from one of my favorite herb books. It is The American Garden Guides Herb Gardening by Patricia Hopkinson, Diane Miske, Jerry Parsons and Holly Simizu. I like it because it forces you to think in botanical names. Sometimes hard to do. Here is a Cuban oregano that has been in the pot just one year! These plants both need some more pinching to keep them more balanced.

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