Coriander or Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

What is Coriander or Cilantro(Coriandrum Sativum)?(Scientific Description)

Cilantro is the Spanish word used for the fresh-green leaves of Coriander (Coriandrum sativum). The term coriander is common in North American English due to the extensive use of Coriander leaves in Mexican cuisine. Cilantro was one of the earliest herbs ever cultivated for culinary use, dating back to over 3,000 years. Since then, over a period of time, coriander has found its way into almost every major cuisine of the world.

The genus coriander got its name from an ancient Greek word Koriandron (Koris – a bed bug) which refers to an unpleasant smell of unripe fruit which disappears as soon as these fruits are ripe and dry. 

Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Subkingdom – Tracheobionta (Vascular Plant)
Superdivision – Spermatophyta (Seed Plant)
Division – Magnoliophyta (Flowering Plant)
Class – Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
Subclass – Rosidae
Order – Apiales
Family – Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (Carrot Family)
Genus – Coriandrum
Species – Coriandrum Sativum
Scientific Name : Coriandrum sativum

Botanical Description

Cilantro is a soft plant which grows up to 50 cm in height and 18 inches in width. Its leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant and feathery, on the upper side of the flowering stems. The flowers are symmetrical and brone in small umbels with petals pointing away from center of the umbel. The petals which point away from the umbel are about 5 to 6 mm long  and the petals which point towards the umbel are 1 to 3 mm long . The blooms may be white or very pale pink in color. 

Origin and Distribution of Cilantro

Cilantro is a native to Southern Europe, Western Mediterranean and Asia but now it is both cultivated and used in almost every part of world.


Favorable Conditions for Growing Cilantro

  • Soil: Plant cilantro in well-drained, loamy soil that has a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Mix a rich compost into the soil before transplanting or sowing coriander into the ground.
  • Sun: Cilantro thrives in full as well as little sunlight. However, cilantro will bolt as soon as the temperatures rise. It is very sensitive to heat and, as a survival mechanism, the plant quickly sends up flowers and goes to seed.
  • Water: Water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist and fertile.
  • Spacing: Plant seeds in succession, sowing them 1 to 2 inches apart in two-week intervals. This ensures a longer, continual harvest. 
  • Companion planting:  Cilantro can be planted with any herb as it is a good companion herb. You can also plant cilantro alongside tomato plants. Their added shade will enable you to stretch your tomato harvest in the warmer months.

Cilantro can be planted alongside dill, parsley, and basil


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