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Products > Origanum dictamnus
 
Origanum dictamnus - Dittany of Crete
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Mediterranean (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Magenta
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Height: 1 foot
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Origanum dictamnus (Dittany of Crete) - A tender perennial to 6 to 12 inches tall with arching white woolly one foot stems holding opposite pairs of aromatic rounded leaves that are white woolly. Spikes of rose-pink flowers with tightly overlapping pale green bracts blushed with purple appear in early summer and bracts darken to rose-purple through summer into fall. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and give occasional to infrequent irrigation. Hardy to around 5 F. A great plant for its velvety soft white leaves that is useful in the rock garden or with other mediterranean plants. It is native to the mountains and canyons on the Greek island of Crete where it is found growing in rocky outcrops and crevices above 1,000 feet in elevation. It has long been used to flavor food and for herbal medicinal purposes as well as for an ornamental plant and the bracts make a great addition to the dried flower bouquet. The name for the genus comes from an ancient Greek name for these aromatic herbs that is thought to be derived from the Greek words 'oros' meaning "mountain" and 'ganos' meaning "joy" or "joy of the mountain" and the specific epithet is thought to be derived from Dikti, the mountain where legend has it that Zeus was born and 'thamnos' meaning "shrub". It is also commonly called Cretan Dittany, Crete Dittany or Hop Marjoram, Wild Marjoram, Wintersweet, Eronda and Dhiktamos. This plant has been in cultivation in the US since at least the 1940s (it was listed in Baily's 1947 edition of Hortus Second) and we have grown this great plant since 1997.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Origanum dictamnus.