Using Herbs: Mexican Oregano

Last week when I posted about using oregano in salsa, I bet some of you wondered whether I meant to use Mexican oregano. No, I really like the flavor of Mediterranean oregano in salsa.

Mexican oregano is a different plant. It is also called rosemary mint, Poliomintha longiflora. It is from North America rather than Europe and has a very different appearance.

The leaves are finer, more shiny and opposite in arrangement.

The flowers are delicate pinkish – lavender tubes. The Mexican oregano plant is a small perennial shrub that does well in arid climates. It is a lovely addition to a xeriscape garden.

We use Mexican oregano in chili and soups, particularly green pozole (If you’d like the recipe, let me know).

Not to be confusing, but there is also a related plant that grows wild in the southwestern United States, Poliomintha incana, commonly called frosted mint, and another plant commonly called Mexican oregano,  Lippia graveolens. The latter has white flowers and a different growth form. I guess that’s why common names are not always reliable.

Have you ever grown/used Mexican oregano? Do you have a favorite recipe?


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