Herb: Bible Hyssop

Latin name: Origanum syriacum

Family: Labiatae

Edible parts of Bible Hyssop:

The leaves and flowering tops are used as a seasoning, having a flavour reminiscent of a blend of thyme, marjoram and oregano. The dried herb is sometimes mixed with sumac (from Rhus species) to form the spice blend known as "zatar", this is used along with olive oil as a topping for breads. The Bedouin grind the dried leaves, add salt and eat the dry mixture on bread. The leaves and flowering stems of this species are often dried and supplied commercially as "oregano", a name that should more accurately be restricted to O. vulgare.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Calcareous rocks and slopes, often in partial shade, 200 - 2700 metres in Turkey.

Propagation of Bible Hyssop:

Seed - sow in a greenhouse in early spring at 10 - 13C and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in March or October. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Basal cuttings of young barren shoots in June. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Calcareous rocks and slopes, often in partial shade, 200 - 2700 metres in Turkey.

Medicinal use of Bible Hyssop:

None known

Known hazards of Origanum syriacum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.