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Marjoram
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Origanum
Species: O. majorana
Binomial name
Origanum majorana
L.[1]
Bottle of Majoram spice

Marjoram (Origanum majorana, Lamiaceae) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavours. In some middle-eastern countries, Marjoram is synonymous with Oregano, and there the names Sweet Marjoram and Knotted Marjoram are used to distinguish it from other plants of the genus Origanum.

The name marjoram (Old French majorane, Medieval Latin majorana) does not directly derive from the Latin word maior (major).[2] Marjoram is indigenous to the Mediterranean area and was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness.

Marjoram is cultivated for its aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes; the tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade. It is often used in herb combinations such as Herbes de Provence and Za'atar.

The flowering leaves and tops of Marjoram are steam distilled to produce an essential oil that is yellowish in color (darkening to brown as it ages). It has many chemical components, some of which are borneol, camphor, origanol and pinene.

Although considered cold-sensitive, marjoram can sometimes prove hardy even in zone 5.

Related species

Oregano (Origanum vulgare, sometimes listed with Marjoram as Origanum majorana) is also called Wild Marjoram. It is a perennial common in southern Europe in dry copses and on hedge-banks, with many stout stems 30-80 cm high, bearing short-stalked somewhat ovate leaves and clusters of purple flowers. It has a stronger flavor and a more penetrating quality.

Pot Marjoram or Cretan Oregano (Origanum onites) has similar uses to marjoram.

Hardy Marjoram or French marjoram is a cross of marjoram with oregano that is much more resistant to cold, but is slightly less sweet.

Origanum pulchellum, Showy Marjoram or Showy Oregano.

(Catalan marduix; Spanish mejorana; Romanian măghiran)

References

  1. ^ "Origanum majorana information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?25912. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  2. ^ Marjoram, Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper, November 2001

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MARJORAM, (0. Fr. majorane, Med. Lat. majorana; not connected with major, greater, nor with amaracus), in botany, the common name for some aromatic herbs or undershrubs, belonging to the genus Origanum (natural order Labiatae). Wild marjoram is O. vulgare, a perennial common in England in dry copses and on hedge-banks, with many stout stems i to 3 ft. high, bearing short-stalked somewhat ovate leaves and clusters of purple flowers. Sweet or knotted marjoram, O. Marjorana, and pot marjoram, O. Onites, are cultivated for the use of their aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes; the tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade.


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Simple English

Marjoram
File:Origanum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Origanum
Species: O. majorana
Binomial name
Origanum majorana
L.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana, Lamiaceae) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavours. In some middle-eastern countries, Marjoram is synonymous with Oregano, and there the names Sweet Marjoram and Knotted Marjoram are used to distinguish it from other plants.


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