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Products > Lippia graveolens
Lippia graveolens - Mexican oregano
Image of Lippia graveolens
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Verbenaceae (Vervains)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Cream
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 4-5 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
Lippia graveolens (Mexican oregano) An evergreen shrub to 5 feet tall by equal width with aromatic small oblong olive green pleated leaves and from spring through fall appear the fragrant small yellow centered cream flowers that are held in clusters that resemble those of Lantana. Plant in full sun and irrigate occasionally to hardly at all - this is a very drought tolerant plant! Hardy to around 30 °F and though it may drop leaves in cold years, it will usually resprout in spring. Though a bit unruly looking and not terribly long lived (most estimate not much more than 10 years), the flowers are attractive and the leaves are very useful for culinary purposes and it also reportedly attracts nectar feeding butterflies, bees and other insects as well as seed eating birds. Lippia graveolens is native to the most southern tip of Texas, south through Mexico into Central America. The name for the genus honors the French naturalist and botanist Augustus Lippi, (1678-1705) and the specific epithet is from the Latin words 'gravis' meaning "heavy" and 'oleo' meaning "oil" in reference to the aromatic oils of this species. It is usually commonly called Mexican oregano but also redbrush lippia, Scented lippia, scented matgrass and in Mexico it is called orégano cimarrón, meaning "wild oregano". The leaves are used extensively as an herb in Mexico and Central America for their strong oregano flavor, which some declare is stronger than true Oregano, Origanum vulgare. Though these plants share similar essential oils, Lippia graveolens is unrelated to true Oregano, which is a member of the mint family, the Lamiaceae. Two other plants in the mint family are also called Mexican Oregano, Poliomintha longiflora and Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia. Our thanks go out to our friend John Bleck for sharing this interesting plant with us.  The information about Lippia graveolens displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.