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Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as Chinese parsley and as cilanrtro in America, is a member of the carrot and parsley family.  It is an annual herb with divided foliage and small white flowers.

It is a native of southern Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia. All parts of the plant are edible but its pungent smell may make it unsuitable for growing indoors.  The lobed lower leaves are used in chutneys, curries and sauces and the spicy-flavoured seeds are used baking, chutneys and meats.  Plants are liable to bolt in summer, producing less leaf and seeds.  Coriander self seeds and germinates easily, so when planted,  it can be left alone for some time, new plants replacing the old plants.

Coriander - Note the similarity with parsley


Where to grow coriander

Like many herbs from the Mediterranean region, coriander will grow in light soils in full sun and with occasional watering. A small number of plants in the corner of the garden will provide most needs and the self seeded plants will appear later in the season or the following year. Because of their susceptibility to bolting, plant seeds in final growing position after the danger of frost is past.


Grow from seed in spring with successive sowings through the summer.  Sow seed directly into well cultivated soil or into containers.


Young leaves can be picked for use fresh or they can be deep frozen. Harvest leaves frequently to encourage new growth.  The seed heads can be gathered and used as they ripen, can be frozen or dried.



Latin Name
Coriandrum sativum
Annual edible herb
Site and Soil
Sunny site, well drained soil
Plant to Harvest Time

4 weeks