Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Both the green feathery leaves (also known as cilantro) and the spherical seeds of coriander are indispensable in the kitchen, especially to anyone who is fond of curries. Coriander looks like flat-leaved parsley. The seed is sold both whole and ground and is the main ingredient in curry powder. It has a sweet taste reminiscent of orange peel.
The plant grows to a height of 2 feet with a spread of 9 inches. The bright, green leaves are fan shaped and become more feathery towards the top of the plant. The flowers, which bloom from mid- to late summer, are small and white, formed in umbel-like clusters. The pale brown roots are fibrous and tapering, shaped like a carrot.
Coriander will not grow well in humid climates. It needs a dry summer and a sunny location. Seeds are sown directly in the garden once all danger of frost has passed. It also does well as a container plant on a sunny porch or balcony. Stems are weak and the plant may require staking.
Cut the leaves as required. They do not dry well, but may be frozen.
Coriander is used to treat digestive ailments and colic.
Coriander is used widely in Indian, Greek and Asian cooking.