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Photo: Bramley, G.

Photos: Bramley, G.

Subfamily

VII. Subfam. Nepetoideae (Dumort.) Luerss. (1882).

VII. 2. Tribe Mentheae Dumort. (1827).

VII. 2. B. Subtribe Menthinae (Dumort.) Endl. (1838).

Description

Subshrubs or perennial herbs, sometimes gynodioecious, aromatic, branched hairs in O. dictamnus L. ; leaves rather small, entire or toothed, hairy or glabrous, rarely glaucous; inflorescence branched, sometimes paniculate to corymbose, spicate or spiciform, spikes elongate to subglobose, erect or nodding, often pedunculate, sometimes lax or few-flowered, or compact; bracts imbricate, often showy or brightly coloured; bracteoles absent; flowers subsessile, single, or rarely in 2-8-flowered cymes in axils of all but lowest bracts; calyx actinomorphic and 5-lobed to strongly zygomorphic and 5- to 1-lobed: either 2-lipped, 3/2 to 1/2, lobes broadly triangular to lingulate, sometimes reduced, or calyx 1-lipped with posterior lip entire, rounded, bract-like with calyx-tube split almost to base, calyx-tube, when present, cylindrical to campanulate, 10-13-nerved, pilose in throat; corolla 2-lipped, usually 5-lobed (2/3), white, pink or purple, lobes subequal, tube straight or curved, sometimes ventrally saccate, short or to 3 cm in O. amanum Post; stamens 4, sometimes reduced or absent, usually unequal, ascending to divergent, anterior longer, usually exserted, posterior exserted to included, thecae divergent to divaricate, distinct; stigma-lobes subequal; disc symmetrical; nutlets ovoid to apiculate, smooth.  2n = 30 (32).  About 40 species, especially Mediterranean, extending through temperate Eurasia and N Africa, from Azores to Taiwan.  Cultivated widely as culinary and medicinal herbs, especially O. vulgare L., O. onites L. and O. majorana L., some ornamental.  Many hybrids recorded. Ietswaart (1980) recognises 10 sections.

Distribution

Native to:

10 Northern Europe
11 Middle Europe
12 Southwestern Europe
13 Southeastern Europe
14 Eastern Europe
20 Northern Africa
21 Macaronesia
30 Siberia
32 Middle Asia
33 Caucasus
34 Western Asia
35 Arabian Peninsula
36 China
37 Mongolia
38 Eastern Asia
40 Indian Subcontinent

Introduced to:

29 Western Indian Ocean
31 Russian Far East
50 Australia
51 New Zealand
71 Western Canada
72 Eastern Canada
73 Northwestern U.S.A.
75 Northeastern U.S.A.
76 Southwestern U.S.A.
78 Southeastern U.S.A.
82 Northern South America
83 Western South America
84 Brazil
85 Southern South America

Synonyms

Dictamnus Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754), nom. illeg.

Majorana Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754).

Marum Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754).

Amaracus Hill, Brit. Herb.: 381 (1756).

Dictamnus Zinn, Cat. Pl. Gott.: 316 (1757), (1756), nom. illeg.

Hofmannia Heist. ex Fabr., Enum.: 61 (1759).

Beltokon Raf., Fl. Tellur. 3: 86 (1837).

Onites Raf., Fl. Tellur. 3: 86 (1837).

Oroga Raf., Fl. Tellur. 3: 86 (1837).

Zatarendia Raf., Fl. Tellur. 3: 86 (1837).

Schizocalyx Scheele, Flora 26: 575 (1843).

Origanomajorana Domin, Preslia 13-15: 197 (1935).

Majoranamaracus Rech.f., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 45: 95 (1938).

Publication

Origanum L., Sp. Pl. 2: 588 (1753); Ietswaart, Leiden Bot. Ser. 4: 1-153 (1980), rev.

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Species found in RBG Kew living collections

2003-2015 Origanum 'Kent Beauty'  MERG   135 02 
2006-252 Origanum amanum Post  HYTH   ALP_N AHF 1g1b
1974-212 Origanum calcaratum Juss. N YOUM 230 F 154 0206   :  ALP_H 05   :  ALP_N AHF 1g1b
1952-65009 Origanum dictamnus L.  GRAN  F 154 0210   :  154 0514   :  ALP_H 02   :  ALP_N AHF 1g1b
2007-1946 Origanum dictamnus L.  HIGD   111 12 
2007-1947 Origanum majorana L.  HIGD   111 12 
1994-1792 Origanum majorana L.  CHIS   111 SEED 
1998-2749 Origanum onites L. N BERL  F 154 0910 
1968-19106 Origanum rotundifolium Boiss. N CMWX 3844 F 135 02   :  154 0513   :  ALP_N AHF 1g1b
1995-3817 Origanum syriacum L.  NYRC  F JOD SEED T3 BENCH6
1978-820 Origanum tytthanthum Gontsch. N NYRK  F 156    :  157 17 
1998-3914 Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'  PYFD   157 60   :  157 79 
1973-18222 Origanum vulgare L.    F 412 06 
2007-1948 Origanum vulgare L.  HIGD   111 12 
1995-3818 Origanum vulgare L.  NYRC  F JOD T3 BENCH6
2002-1123 Origanum vulgare L.  EMOR   WAK_S MP3   :  WAK_S S/BANK 
1969-19318 Origanum vulgare L.    F 111 11   :  111 21 
1979-4551 Origanum vulgare L. N COBH 145 P 111 08 
1969-19317 Origanum vulgare L. subsp. hirtum (Link) Ietsw.    F 154 0606 
1995-77 Origanum vulgare var. aureum     135 03 

Image resource

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew