Oregano – A Common Species of Origanum

We’re always felt a bit confused on the subject of oregano versus marjoram. But we don’t feel too bad, because so are the botanists. Wild oregano (Origanum Vulgare) is the available plant that most closely resembles the stuff they put on pizza.
Though I am told the jars of oregano you buy in the market are really a blend of several different Italian herbs. Sweet marjoram has a milder flavor, and its botanical name is O. Majorana or Majorana hortensis, depending on whom you talk to. The difference between the two plants is quite clear, though.
Wild oregano is a big, sprawling thing that will make it through the harshest winter. Sweet marjoram is a flower, a more trailing plant that, though perennial, is not hardy except in warm climates.
It has oval leaves and knot-like nodes along stems, which is why it is sometimes called knotted marjoram. I grow wild oregano in the garden, mainly because bees and butterflies love its lavish display of pinkish flowers. For kitchen seasonings, I am more apt to use my sweet marjoram, which does better as a potted herb than oregano.
Moreover, Oregano will grow in a pH range of about 6.0 (mildly acidic) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.0 to 8.0. The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm long, and produced in erect spikes. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative O. majorana is known as sweet marjoram.

How to Grow Oregano?

Both oregano and marjoram prefer full sun and light, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. The benefit of being cut back, especially wild oregano, should also be divided every few years after it becomes very woody. In addition to the division, you can propagate from stem cuttings or from seed, though germination is fairly slow.
However, oregano and marjoram have a better flavor if cut just before they bloom. They dry very well hung upside down in a paper bag or in a dark, airy place. Crumble the leaves off the stems when they are completely dry.
Oregano - A Common Species of Origanum
Oregano – A Common Species of Origanum
Also Read: Harvesting Drying and Storage of Herbs