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All About Perennial Herbs

A perennial plant is one that lives for two years or more. Annual plants germinate, flower, and die in one year. I am writing about herbaceous plants, which are also perennials. Other perennials include woody plants such as shrubs and trees.

Perennials grow and bloom during spring & summer. They die back during the autumn and winter, returning in spring from root stock rather than seeding as an annual plant does. So, you don’t have to re-plant perennials each year because they come back by themselves. In harsher climates, many perennial herbs are treated as annuals, because they cannot survive the winter outside of their natural environment.

Perennial herbs originated from and grow best in temperate climates, which are the regions between the tropics and polar circles. Flavor comes from oil in the cell walls of the plant. Spices, on the other hand, come from tropical climates.

Perennial plants have stems that die at the end of the growing season. Parts of the plant survive under or close to the ground from season to season. New growth emerges from tissues on or under the ground such as roots, caudex (a thickened part of the stem found at ground level) or from various underground stems: bulbs, corms, stolons, rhizomes and tubers.

It is recommended to start most perennial herbs from young plants. Should you choose purchase seeds, be sure to get the best quality organic seeds. I personally like getting seeds from a source that also sells medicinal herb plants and seeds because I feel that they are more caring about the quality of their plants.

Here is a short list of perennial herbs that I like and recommend:

Echinacea- Used to prevent common colds medicinally, this plant has large, showy flowers that bloom from early to late summer.

Sage- Evergreen, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. A member of the mint family. Native to the Mediterranean. Has medicinal and culinary uses.

Lavender- Also a member of the Mint family, with medicinal and culinary uses. Native to the Mediterranean region south to tropical Africa and to the southeast regions of India

Thyme- A good source of iron. Often used to flavor meats, soups and stews

Sweet Marjoram- Sweet pine and citrus flavors. Indigenous to the Mediterranean area. Known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness.

Chives- A member of the onion and garlic family, like a tiny green onion, cylindrical, hollow stems with flowers on top.

Mint- Aromatic, cooling. Good for digestion. A genus of 25 species, and many hundreds of varieties, of the Mint family. Due to its invasive nature, Mint must be grown in pots or contained in a garden.

Oregano- Widely used in Greek and Italian cuisine. Often used in tomato sauces, with fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.

Savory- Aromatic. Related to Rosemary and Thyme. Used mainly for seasoning game meats and in stews. Also good for seasoning beans.

Lemon Balm- Related to Mint. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent. At the end of the summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear, which attract bees. Can be used for cooking or medicine.

There are many others. More information about perennial herbs can be found at other sources online, including some of the herbs books that I recommend at my website.



Source by Mark PerlikPhoto by leewrightonflickr

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