Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum

The genus Origanum encompasses many different types of plants, such as herbs like Oregano and Majoram, and even horticulturally valuable plants like ornamental Oreganos. Ornamental oreganos include such plants as Origanum laevigatum 'Pilgrim', which is valued for its profuse blue flowers and creeping habit. The distinction to make between these two groups is that if you want to use an Origanum in cooking, steer clear of the ornamental Oreganos because they may not only taste bad, but they could make you sick.

If you are looking for a great culinary Oregano, my recommendation would be Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum. This variety is valued as a herb because it has a more hot and spicy taste than Origanum vulgare. In fact, the subsp. hirtum is what is commonly used in many spaghetti and pizza sauces. Not only is this variety great in the kitchen, if you do want to grow it in your home garden, it has very delicate white flowers and adds great fragrance to the landscape.

Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum

Origanum laevigatum 'Pilgrim'

- "Origanum vulgare". The Herb Society of America. 30 November 2008 .
- photo of subsp. hirtum: orivulgarehirtumwithfennel.JPG
- photo of 'Pilgrim': http://www.deerxlandscape.com/Origanum_laevigatum_Pilgrim.jpg