OREGANO

Description

Oregano (Origanum) is a plant characteristic of the Mediterranean, belonging to the Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family, to which belong about 50 species. Nevertheless, the most common are the common oregano (Origanum vulgare) and marjoram (Origanum majorana). Its name derives from the Greek and means "mountain". It is a perennial shrub that can reach 40 cm in height, consisting of many twigs with leaves of oval or rounded shape. It lives in full sun and, during the summer, produces small pink flowers with cob-shaped inflorescences. The plant emanates a strong aroma that is appreciated in southern cuisine, especially on pizza. The active ingredients that give rise to the plant's aroma and its healthy properties are mainly phenols (Thymol and Carvacrol) and essential oils. These substances seem to confer antiseptic, analgesic, expectorant, and tonic properties to the plant.

Cultivation

In mediterranean climate, oregano can be cultivated both in the garden and in vases. Its Mediterranean origin requires that its cultivation be carried out in full sun and, in case vases are used, they should be large and filled with light, draining soil. In particular, it can be a mix of 60% peat or potting soil with 40% inert material, which allows for a good drainage of excess water. During its growth, oregano must be watered regularly but not so much as to create conditions of extreme humidity. Fertilization should be done once a month, using complex, soluble fertilizers that are dissolved in the irrigation water. For home-grown cultivation in the vase, where the fresh leaves tend to be used, it is preferable to trim the branches thereby stimulating the plant to sprout new leaves.