Oregano, native to the Mediterranean region is a spreading perennial ground cover with oval dark green leaves, when it comes into flower oregano can reach a height of 60cm with pink flowers.
It is used fresh or dried in pizza, spaghetti and marinara sauces, plus many other Italian dishes. It also complements beef or lamb stews, gravies, salads, soups, even tomato juice, poultry, cheese and fish.
It combines well with other ingredients such as tomatoes, chilli, onions, garlic, olives, parsley and basil.
Oregano is often used dried, cut the stems just before they flower for the strongest flavour, then dry in a food dehydrator or in an airy, dry spot. Store in an airtight container away from light.
Oregano can be taken for colds, influenza, minor feverish conditions, indigestion, flatulence, stomach upsets and painful menstruation. It can be used externally for arthritis and muscular pain.
Grow next to broccoli and other vegetables from the cabbage family to help repel insects.
Oregano makes a nice edging plant and ground cover, requiring little maintenance. It prefers a well drained soil in full sun. Stems can get woody with age and regular trimming encourages fresh new growth.