Origanum Marjoram are the collective name for 2O different species of this genus according to my RHS Herb guide. They are native to the Mediterranean basin so are ideal plants to cultivate in the South of France. They like well drained soil in sun, indeed Marjoram grown here in the South tend to have a much more pronounced flavour than their Northern cousins as the sun concentrated the essential oils so crucial to taste in herbs. This genus tends to grow well in Spring, Summer and Autumn, and give this year’s growth a good cutting back when Winter starts. We plant seeds in the Spring, and separate out the mother plants in both Spring and Autumn. If grown in pots I find that they rapidly fill out the pots, devouring all the soil. They can easily be pulled out and cut into quarters and re-potted apart.
As well as their lovely flavour Origan is rich in carvacrol and thymol which give the Origan a number of medicinal and antisceptic usage. Za’aatar has traditioally been drunk as a tea in arabic cultures to aid stomach upsets and period pains.
We grow four main varieties.
Syrian Marjoram, Origanum Syriacum, commonly known in arabic as Za’atar. A silver leafed
plant with a very strong pronounced flavour. Very resistant to sun. Great for cooking, in the Maghreb it is often mixed with olive oil and spread on bread. Commercial Za’aatar often contains a mixture of dried Syrian Margoran, Winter Savory, Thyme and sesame.