This hardy perennial is also referred to as European oregano, wild marjoram, and winter marjoram. It has sprawling stems that reach a height of 3'. The leaves are ovate, dark-green and coarsely pubescent. The flowers are reddish-purple and emerge from loosely clustered buds.
This herb grows well in poor soil and can be propagated by means of seed or divisions. If seed sown, thin the seedlings to 10" — 12" apart. The mature clumps should be divided every 2 — 3 years to renew their vigor, be cause the plants become woody and less flavorful with age.
This type of oregano is best used as a groundcover or rock garden plant, or grown for its flowers, since it is not the best for culinary purposes, having little flavor potential.
(Origanum heracleoticum, O. vulgare subsp. hirtum, O. hirtum, or O. vulgare ‘Virde’)
Similar to sweet marjoram; spreading perennial with fuzzy pale green, round 1⁄4" — 1" leaves and erect reddish stems. The flower spike is a knot-like cluster but much larger than sweet marjoram. The roots of the plant spread to form a dense clump and can become rampant in the garden.
Since oregano doesn't grow “true-to-taste” when grown from seed, start with a plant or rooted cutting to be sure you have one that is aromatic. Space the plants 18" apart in any soil. The leaves can be harvested anytime after the plant is 6" tall. Cutting off sprigs encourages the plant to be come bushier. If the stems are cut down as flowering begins, new shoots will form.
The best oregano for culinary purposes. This is a major ingredient in Italian and Mexican main courses, as well as in sauces, cocktail dips, cheese and egg dishes, eggplant, poultry, and many vegetables.
The word "Oregano" is Greek, derived and translated means "Joy of the Mountain". Oregano was popular in ancient Egypt and Greece as a flavoring for vegetables, wines, meats and fish.