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Origanum vulgare


Origanum vulgare L.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Origanum floridum, Thymus origanum
Common Name: Oregano

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a sprawling woody shrub which can grow up to 1 m tall. Popularly used as culinary herb in Italian cuisine, dried Oregano leaves are also used in traditional medicine for treating colds, indigestion and upset stomach, because of the high carvacrol and thymol content naturally found within its essential oil. The plant is easy to care for, best grown in full sun and well-drained soil.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Plant Shape Shrubby


Native Distribution Europe, Asia. 
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal, Temperate
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Woody perennial with a sprawling growth habit up to 1 m tall.
Foliage Hairy to hairless leaves are ovate (egg-shaped) to approximately round (0.6-4 cm long, 0.5-3 cm wide). Leaf margin is entire (smooth edges) or serrulate (lined with minute, inconspicuous teeth).
Flowers Purple, pink or white, bisexual flowers are tubular and 2-lipped.
Fruit The fruit is composed of 4 brown, egg-shaped nutlets (1-1.5 mm long, 0.5 mm wide).
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Herb and Spice): The spice oregano sold in supermarkets is actually a blend of several herbs which includes oregano (Origanum vulgare), sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana), and spearmint (Mentha spicata). Chili powder also contains some Origanum vulgare leaves.
Others: The oil from seeds is used in aromatherapy, perfumes and toiletries. 

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, [Remarks] (Too much water will cause root rot.)
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Softwood), Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Obtuse
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White, Purple, Pink
Flower Texture(s) Smooth, Gloss / Shiny
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Spike
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Nut / Nutlet
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)


References de Guzman, C.C. and Siemonsma, J.S. (Editors). 1999. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 13. Spices. Leiden, the Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers.

Lawton, B.P.. 2002. Mints: A Family of Herbs and Ornamentals. USA: Timber Press. 239 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 30546
Species ID 5191
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 19 August 2021.