Cuban Oregano
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Kevin Yates
Posted on: April 19, 2001

I bought cuban oregano at a nursery in Victoria, it’s a small fuzzy succulent looking plant. On the label it said it was safe to eat. I noticed on your site that you say that it isn’t used for cooking. Is it safe to use it?

In the North American horticultural trade, the name "Cuban oregano" is not a precise one. It has been applied to several different plants, including succulent species of Coleus and Plectranthus. In our catalogue, we use it to refer to one of the many aromatic species of Plectranthus. Ours is a small succulent with small (about 1-2 cm) leaves with a "fuzzy" appearance.

While the fleshy leaves of our Cuban oregano are pleasantly aromatic, we do not consider the taste appealing enough to use in cooking. The oils have components that resemble camphor and ether which distort the taste.

Another of our plants, broadleaf thyme (Coleus ambionicus) is sometimes called Cuban oregano. It is also succulent, but with larger leaves and a much more pleasant flavour. It is also known as "Spanish thyme" and is a key ingredient in Jamaican cuisine.

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