Most herb growers know that oregano leaves have the strongest and most desirable flavor before the flowers bloom. The plant is used up until the first buds form. However, the flowers are useful in cooking and have decorative value for the home and garden.
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The University of Kentucky cooperative extension notes that oregano flowers edible are used in vegetable dishes and pizzas bus also as a decorative salad topping. Oregano leaves have a very strong flavor, but the flavor of the flowers is more delicate. Oils infused with oregano flowers are decorative as well as tasty. Sampling the flowers before using them gives a better idea on how much to use in each dish.
The small, pink or white flowers growing on the ends of oregano stems add color to the herb garden. They attract pollinators, such as butterflies and bees. Honeybees that frequent oregano flowers may even produce honey with a mild oregano-blossom flavor.
Dry the flowering tops of oregano and its close cousin for use in craft projects. Hang them in a well-ventilated, dark area and until thoroughly dried. While they're hanging, the room might get a light oregano potpourri scent.
After oregano blooms, it may produce seed. However, oregano is difficult to grow from seed and may not grow true to the mother plant. The seeds need not be saved. Oregano is often propagated from cuttings, which are taken while the oregano is blooming. Remove the bloom before the cutting roots, since the blooms demand a lot of energy.
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service; Edible Flowers; Sandra Bastin, Ph.D.; January 1997
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service; Growing Herbs; Kate Copsey, et al.; January 2002
- ND State University Extension Service; Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener; Erv Evans, et al.; February 1998
Samantha Belyeu has been writing professionally since 2003. She began as a writer and publisher for the Natural Toxins Research Center and has spent her time since as a landscape designer and part-time writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A&M University in Kingsville.