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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.  Information displayed on this page about  Lippia graveolens is based on the research conducted about it in our library and from reliable online resources. We also note those observations we have made of this plant as it grows in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how crops have performed in our nursery field. We will incorporate comments we receive from others, and welcome to hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.