The characteristics of the coriander plant
Coriander is a plant that never exceeds a height of 60 or 70 centimeters. It has a tap root, a smooth and erect stem and leaves that are very fragrant and different depending on the position they have in the plant: the leaves that are placed at the bottom have a long petiole, are almost whole or are divided into three leaflets with slight teeth; those of the upper part of the plant are instead bi or tripennatosette and are not serrated. The flowers of the coriander plant they appear towards the beginning of the summer season and are of a beautiful pink and white color, gathered in beautiful umbel-shaped inflorescences. The fruits of the coriander plant they have small dimensions and resemble a sphere, commonly called a seed, which has a yellowish color and is rich in evident grooves: this is the spice that we all know.
Coriander plant - Coriander">Cultivation of the coriander plant
The cultivation technique of the coriander plant is quite simple because it does not require particular needs for growth: it develops without problems everywhere, always in regions with a temperate climate. The period of sowing of coriander can vary according to the cultivation area and its climate. Coriander is sown towards the beginning of the spring season if we are in an area with a temperate climate, while it is sown in late spring if we are in areas with a cold climate. In both cases it is advisable to sow coriander in sunny areas, using soils that are loose, draining and about 2 centimeters deep. If the coriander is planted in a field it must be sown in rows that are 50 or 60 centimeters apart; along each row the distance should be approximately 20 centimeters. The coriander plant begins its flowering from late spring; from July to September the plant is uprooted to harvest its fruits. Since fresh coriander plants give off a strong odor that is not very pleasant, it is advisable to plant them away from the house or in passageways.
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Coriander and its aromatic properties
Thanks to its well-known aromatic properties, both branches and leaves can be used from the coriander plant. In fact, the leaves of coriander are used mainly in North and South America and in the countries of the Middle East, while they are never used in European countries: here, however, its fruits are used almost exclusively in order to flavor various types of foods. The fruits of the coriander plant are also used in the pharmaceutical industry in order to aromatize medicines and also in herbalist shops to aromatize especially laxatives. The aroma of coriander fruits is so strong that, if we chew its fruits by chance, we can even neutralize the strong aroma of garlic. The fruits of coriander are eaten dry because when they are fresh they have a strong unpleasant odor which they then lose through their drying, acquiring instead that aroma that is characteristic of coriander.
Coriander: Coriander, medicinal properties and use in cooking
Coriander is generally attributed various medicinal properties that are derived from its essential oil. Thanks to it we can have the various beneficial substances it contains, among which we remember the main ones: linalool, geraniol, acetic acid, decyl acid, caffeic acid and a good dose of vitamin C. Thanks to these its components coriander exerts an action as an antiseptic, stimulant, antispasmodic, digestive and is useful for reducing flatulence. In addition, the juice that is extracted from the green parts gives an intoxicating effect that is similar to that of excess wine. In Europe, only its dried fruits are used, improperly called seeds, due to their pleasant, spicy and sweetish aroma at the same time: they are used to flavor meat, fish, game, boiled, vegetable dishes and to prepare liqueurs. In the East, as in India, Japan or China, fresh and chopped leaves are also used as we use parsley, to give the food a spicy and bitter aroma. It is essential for making curry and chutney.