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Common Name: Dittany Of Crete
Origanum dictamnus is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.20 metres tall.
It has edible and medicinal uses
The plant is widely cultivated as a culinary herb in eastern Crete[
S. Europe - Crete.
Shady rocks in dry places in high mountains[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Requires a rather dry, warm, well-drained soil, but is not fussy as to soil type, thriving on chalk[
]. Prefers slightly alkaline conditions[
This species is not fully hardy in Britain according to one report[
] whilst another says that it is hardy to zone 7[
], which means that it can succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It is, however, very susceptible to winter wet and so is more commonly grown under cover in this country[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The leaves are used for flavouring salads and vermouth[
]. A pleasant aromatic flavour, especially when mixed with parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper[
The flowering tops are dried and brewed into a herb tea[
The flowering plant has been used as an antirheumatic, oxytocic, stomachic and vulnerary[
], though these uses appear to be obsolete in modern herbalism[
An extract from the aerial parts of the plant showed significant activity against Leishmania donovani, one of the organisms that cause the parasitic disease leishmaniasis. Related species contain triterpenes, ursolic acid, and oleanolic acid, compounds previously identified in Greek Lamiaceae and recently shown to have strong activity against Leishmania species[
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse at 10 - 13°c and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring.
Division in early spring or early autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Basal cuttings of young barren shoots in early summer. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.