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Origanum vulgare (oregano)

A very common herb, oregano is widely used to give flavour to tomato or lamb dishes.
Purple and white flowers of Origanum vulgare

Origanum vulgare (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Origanum vulgare L.

Common name: 

oregano, wild marjoram

Conservation status: 

Rated by IUCN as of Least Concern (LC).


Grassland or open scrub, often in rocky areas and on calcareous soils.

Key Uses: 

An important herb in Greek and Italian cuisine, it is also used in traditional medicine, potpourri and as an ornamental.

Known hazards: 

Its oil may cause skin irritation.


Genus: Origanum

About this species

This small white- or purple-flowered perennial is commonly called oregano. It is a widely used herb in Greek and Italian cuisine and is often used in tomato dishes, salads and with grilled meats. Together with basil (Ocimum basilicum), it is one of the main flavouring ingredients of Italian food.

Medicinal Uses

Oregano is used in traditional medicine for treating colds, indigestion and stomach upsets. 


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