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Marjoram is a herbaceous, perennial, bushy plant, native to the north-western African and Central Asian areas. This plant belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is also known as Origanum majorana or Majorana hortensis. As for the stem of our marjoram, this appears erect, quadrangular, reddish in color and with a maximum height of 1 meter. The plant is covered with a thick hair. The leaves have a rather small size, an oval shape, smooth edges and a short petiole. The down covers them completely giving it a soft and velvety appearance. During the winter the marjoram completely loses its leaves. The flowers are pinkish white, gathered in spikes and have the peculiar characteristics of being hermaphroditic. Bloom from June to September. Speaking of the fruit of the origanum majorana, this one has a rather sorry coloring and an oval shape.
Origanum majorana is grown in Europe as an annual plant although it is a perennial species. This is because it is a species that absolutely does not tolerate cold temperatures and for this reason, it is cultivated as a perennial only in the places of origin. To grow at its best it needs exposure to full sun, where temperatures are mild and the air rather warm. If these weather conditions subsist, the aroma of marjoram will also be more intense. To best cultivate the plant, the soil must be dry. It also does not need frequent watering but limited irrigation that does not cause stagnation in the soil. The plant needs more watering only in its initial growth phase.
THE MAJOR IN BRIEF
|Family, genus, species||Lamiaceae, origanum majorana|
|Type of plant||Perennial herbaceous (also cultivated as an annual), lively, aromatic|
|Height||From 30 60 cm|
|density||6-9 per m2|
|Propagation||Seed, cutting, division|
|Rusticitа||From medium to slightly rustic|
|Ground||Sandy, rocky or poor|
|pH||From sub-alkaline to sub-acid|
|Soil humidity||Well drained|
|Use||Aromatic corner, vegetable garden, vase|
Marjoram reproduction occurs by seed, cutting or division of the plant.
The first technique consists in placing the seeds of the plant in a seedbed or pot with fertile soil at the beginning of the spring season. The seed container should be kept in a shaded area with a temperature of 10 to 13 ° C. It is advisable to keep the soil constantly moist until the first shoot of the plant appears from the ground. Once the seedlings have sprouted, it will be possible to move them to a brighter area to allow them better growth.
Reproduction by cuttings is carried out in June. The cuttings of the plant must be 8-10 cm long and planted in a compound made of sand and peat. The ideal room temperature must be around 10 ° C.
If you want to multiply the species through the technique of plant division it will be necessary to wait for the month of March or October.
Use in the kitchen
Thanks to the particular aroma of marjoram, the plant is often used in the kitchen to flavor dishes. The scent is very similar to that of oregano but the taste is much more sought after. It is used to make fish, vegetable and soup based dishes.
Another use of the origanum majorana is to prepare tea and herbal tea.
History of Marjoram
Marjoram is already known and used in ancient times by all the peoples of the Mediterranean basin. The first written records of its use come from the Greeks: they particularly appreciated its tonic and aperitif virtues. He also entered to be part of ointments to fight rheumatic pains, along with thyme, sage, basil and honey.
Recent analyzes have also found that the essential oils of marjoram were used by the Egyptians for embalming practices, probably for their antiseptic virtues.
These characteristics made it popular also during the Middle Ages, especially in the herbalist's shops linked to convents: it was traditionally combined with thyme, in particular in syrups with sedative and expectorant action.
Marjoram is also a symbol of happiness and well-being and in ancient times was associated with the cult of Venus. It was customary to adorn the windows of the girls with bunches, to bring them happiness and love.
In autumn the branches are cut leaving about 10 cm from the base. The best time to harvest the branches of marjoram is the one before flowering, that is April-May. In September October you can pick up the leaves to be dried.
THE MAGGIORANA CALENDAR
|Collection||From June to October|
|Winter retreat (in the North and mountain areas)||November to April|