Wild marjoram (scientific name: Origanum vulgare) is a herb with beautiful purple wildflowers, which bloom during July and August. Wild marjoram is a native species in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia but is grown throughout Europe. In the UK, wild marjoram is one of three varieties grown on these soils, the other two being pot marjoram and sweet, or knotted, marjoram. Wild marjoram also goes by the (perhaps more familiar) name of oregano, and is part of the mint family.
It has several reputed medicinal properties and is named by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as the perfect pollinator, attracting bumble bees and butterflies, which in turn support our fragile eco-system.
Growing and harvesting
Wild marjoram is a hardy herbaceous plant which can thrive when planted in the UK. However, it only lasts for one season and rarely survives winter. Sow the seeds in fertile soil in spring – use an individual container if you wish – making sure you choose a sunny spot to encourage the herb’s growth. Once your wild marjoram is ready, make use of this highly versatile and flavoursome herb in the kitchen – add it to pizza, certainly, but try it out in other recipes too!
After summer, the leaves of wild marjoram die back but its roots live on under the earth, resulting in the leaves growing again the following spring.
You can keep things simple and invest in Meadowmat, a pre-grown wildflower meadow that’s as easy to lay as lawn turf. Meadowmat and organisations such as local Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) can provide further advice and tips about how to plant wildflowers, and their many benefits.
Wild marjoram, or oregano, is one of the best known and best loved of all culinary herbs, a staple of pizzas but also adding flavour and an aroma to many other recipes and salads. It has many nutrients too and is packed with antioxidants.
This herb is also known for its medicinal properties. Since ancient Greek times, it has been used to treat sore throats, coughs, tooth aches and digestive problems. It has been used for mouthwashes, cough medicines and antibacterial soap. These days, essential oil from the leaves of wild marjoram is popular; it is used in massage to relax tense muscles or to support the nervous system, and often simply for its pleasurably warm, soothing aroma.