Origanum heracleoticum Linn. Labiatae. Winter Sweet Marjoram.
Mediterranean region. This species has been identified with the Cunila gallinacea of Pliny. It is mentioned in the early botanies, is said to have reached England in 1640 and is recorded in American gardens in 1806. It finds mention by Burr in 1863 but seems now to have disappeared from our seed-lists. It is frequently mentioned by early garden writers under the name winter sweet marjoram and has a variegated variety. It is an aromatic of sweet flavor and is much used for soups, broths and stuffings.
Origanum majorana Linn. Sweet Marjoram.
Europe. Sweet marjoram was introduced into British gardens in 1573. This is the species usually present in the herb garden. It is supposed to be the amaracus of Pliny, who speaks of it as cultivated. It is also the marjorana of Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century and is mentioned as cultivated in the early botanies. Its modern culture is quite extended, and at Bombay it is considered sacred to Siva and Vishnu. It is said to have reached Britain in 1573 and was a well-known inmate in American gardens in 1806. This biennial, always treated as an annual, is highly aromatic and is much used, both in the green state and when dried, for flavoring broths, soups and stuffings.
Origanum onites Linn. Pot Marjoram.
Southeast Europe, Asia Minor and Syria. Pot marjoram is a perennial species from Sicily. Pliny speaks of this species as called onitin, or prasion, in the first century. Its introduction into Britain is said to have taken place in 1759. It was in American gardens in 1806, but does not appear to have been much cultivated, although recorded by Burr in 1863. Its name does not now occur in our seed-lists as it is inferior to the preceding variety.
Origanum vulgare Linn. Organy. Wild Marjoram.
North Africa, Europe and adjoining Asia. This species has become sparingly naturalized in eastern America. Don says it is used in cookery only in default of one of the other majorams. McIntosh says that the leaves and tender tops are in constant demand and that the leaves are used in many places as a substitute for tea. Lightfoot says in some parts of Sweden the peasantry put the leaves into their ale to give it an intoxicating quality and to prevent its turning sour. It is included among garden herbs by Burr.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.