Coriander

Updated: May 4

Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is also known as Chinese parsley, dhania, or cilantro. The scientific name of coriander is Coriandrum sativum. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking. Native to the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, the plant is widely cultivated in many places worldwide for its culinary uses.



Its dry fruits and seeds, which are also known as coriander, are used to flavour many foods, particularly sausages, curries, Scandinavian pastries, liqueurs, and confectionery, such as English comfits. Its delicate young leaves, known as cilantro, are widely used in Latin American, Indian, and Chinese dishes.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

1 - 3 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

1 - 1.5 feet


Approximate pH

6.5 - 7.5


Growth Nutrition of Coriander


Since the plant is mostly vegetative then nutrients with high nitrogen to phosphorus ratio are outstanding choices. Low to medium Electrical conductivity levels in the nutrient solution is suggested to be maintained, nutrient strength, with a range of about 1.2- 1.8 is ideal for the growth.


Varieties of Coriander


The coriander genus Coriandrum is made up of just three species, with only one, Coriandrum sativum, being cultivated commercially. Some coriander varieties have been specially cultivated with a focus on flavour or seed size:

  • ‘Indian coriander’: Annual coriander up to 70cm with elongated seeds and sweeter flavour than many other varieties. Key ingredient in garam masala spice mix.

  • ‘Jantar’: Nutty tasting coriander with very shiny foliage and quite small but very aromatic seeds. Both the foliage and the fresh and dried seeds can be used.

  • ‘Thüringer’: Old, German traditional variety with good seed production. The plants reach a height of about 40cm.


It’s not just the dried or ground seeds that are a delicious addition to your cooking, the coriander leaves can also be used. While the seeds have a spicy, woody taste, the leaves have a strong, earthy, pungent aroma. There are now varieties on the market that have been specially cultivated for their leaves.

  • ‘Calypso’: A British-bred cultivar, which is quick to grow and slow to bolt. It can be cut right back to regrow at least three times during the summer.

  • ‘Confetti’: Has finely-divided leaves.

  • ‘Chechnya’: An eastern European variety.

  • ‘Lemon’: With citrus-flavoured leaves.

  • ‘Leafy Leisure’: Vigorous cultivar producing masses of leaves and slow to bolt.


Vietnamese coriander is a perennial alternative to ordinary coriander. Also known as Rau Ram, it doesn’t bolt as readily as the regular type of cilantro, which is one of the reasons for its tastiness. The plant has narrow, dark leaves with smooth edges and markings on both sides of the leaf’s veins. If you wish to put this type of cilantro in your salads, you can use an entire sprig, including the stem.


Mexican coriander (Eryngium foetidum), also called long coriander or cilantro, belongs to the Umbelliferae family too, but to a different genus than our ordinary coriander. The elongated, tooth-edged leaves on the plants, which grow up to 30cm high, have a strong coriander aroma. Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata) is similar in smell and taste, but belongs to the Polygonaceae family so is not related to coriander. However, Vietnamese coriander has a clear advantage over cilantro: it is perennial and more hardy to cool temperatures, although it should still be overwintered indoors.

Planting Coriander


  • Plant cilantro in the spring after the last frost date or in the fall. In the Southwestern US, a fall planting may last through spring until the weather heats up again.

  • Do not grow in summer heat as the plants will bolt (such that it will be past harvesting). The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavor.

  • It is best to choose a sunny site that will allow cilantro to self-seed as it is ought to do. Plant in an herb garden or the corner of a vegetable garden. When the weather gets warm, the plant will quickly finish its life cycle and send up a long stalk which will produce blossoms and later seeds. Little plants will sprout during the season and the next spring.

  • Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil and space them 1 to 2 inches apart. Sow the seeds at 3-week intervals for continued harvest.

  • Space rows about 12 inches apart.

  • It is important to keep the seeds moist during their germination, so remember to water the plants regularly.


Growing Coriander


  • Water the seedlings regularly throughout the growing season. They require about 1 inch of water per week for best growth.

  • Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart so that they have room to develop healthy leaves.

  • Once the plants are established, they do not need as much water per week. Keep them moist, but be careful not to overwater them.

  • Fertilize once or twice during the growing season with nitrogen fertilizer. Apply 1/4 cup of fertilizer per 25 feet of row. Be sure not to over-fertilizer the plants.

  • To help prevent weeds, mulch around the plants as soon as they are visible above the soil. You can also till shallowly to help prevent root damage from weeds.


Harvesting


Harvesting Coriander Herb


Coriander can be harvested when the plant has become six inches tall. At this height, the leaves of the herb will be tender and least bitter. The stems tend to be more pungent as compared to the leaves. Cut the gentle stems at soil level.


Harvesting Coriander Seeds


You can also harvest the seeds once coriander plant develops flowers and seed heads. The harvested seed heads should be a brown colour and are available in the seed heads. The seeds can be harvested once they are brown.


Dry the harvested seeds before using them in recipes. Store them in an airtight paper bag until they are ready to be planted. You can also sow them immediately for a continuous crop.


Pests and Diseases


Pests


1. Aphids

Symptoms:

  • Small dark spots on leaves, which might look like streaks too.

  • Stunted growth of new shoots

  • Necrotic spots on leaves

  • Yellowing and browning of leaves

  • Aphids secrete honeydew that causes sooty mold growth on infested plant parts.

Control:

  • If infestation is at an early stage, prune affected parts of the cilantro plant.

  • You can spray the plants with a dependable pressure washer if an infestation is mild.

  • Spray neem oil, canola oil, or insecticidal soap like this for mild-moderate infestation.

  • Silver-colored reflective mulch is effective for deterring aphids.

  • Plant pest-resistant varieties of coriander seeds if everything fails.

2. Beet armyworm

Symptoms:

  • Large larvae feed on the petioles

  • Stunted growth on developing buds

  • Closely grouped irregularly shaped holes on the leaves.

Control:

  • Hand-pick caterpillars

  • Apply neem oil if you notice larvae, or cottonseed oil if eggs/larvae.

  • Spray Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacterium that produces toxins to kill the beet armyworm.


Diseases


1. Powdery mildew

Disease symptoms:

  • It appears as small, white, powdery patches on young parts of stems, leaves and buds which increases in size, and coalesce to cover entire area of leaf surface.

  • Affected leaves are reduced in size and distorted. Premature sterility is also common. in serve cases, the umbels dry up.

  • Seed formation may not take place in affected plants due to this disease.

Survival and spread:

  • Fungus can survive in plant debris in the form of cleistothecia and spread long distances by air.

Favourable conditions:

  • Disease emergence is favored by high humidity and moderate temperatures (cloudy weather); infection is most severe in shaded areas.

2. Wilt

Disease symptoms:

  • The disease can easily be recognized in the field by drooping of the terminal portions, followed by withering and drying up of leaves, eventually resulting in death.

  • Discoloration of vascular system of the root is observed. Partial wilting is also found. In partially wilted plants, growth is arrested.

  • The leaves become pinkish yellow to yellow. Sterility is often noticed in such plants. Seeds, if formed are immature and light in weight.

  • Severe infection in the early stage results in total failure of the crop.

Survival and spread:

  • The disease is soil borne and primary infection occurs through inoculum present in the soil.

Favourable conditions:

  • Relatively high soil moisture and soil temperature are favourable for the infection.

3. Stem gall

Disease symptoms:

  • The disease appears in the form of tumor-like swellings of leaf veins, leaf stalks, peduncles, stems as well as fruits. The infected veins show a swollen hanging appearance to the leaves. Initially the tumors are glossy which rupture later on and become rough. They are about 3 mm broad and up to 12.5 mm long.

  • Badly affected plants may be killed. In the presence of excessive soil moisture, especially under shaded conditions, when the stem fails to harden and remain succulent, the tumors are numerous.

Survival and spread:

  • The disease is soil borne and the inoculant present in the soil are the source of primary infection. Pathogen may survive in soil as resting spore for several years.

Favourable conditions:

  • Relatively high soil moisture and soil temperature are favourable for the infection.

4. Blight disease

Disease symptoms:

  • Dark brown spots appear on the stem and leaves of infected plants and emerging umbels with young flowers get killed.

  • Later in the season when plants are beginning to mature it may be difficult to recognise a diseased field except reduced seed production.

Survival and spread:

  • The pathogen survives through conidia or mycelia in diseased plant debris or weed or in soil.

Favourable conditions:

  • Moist (More than 70% relative humidity) and warm weather (12-25 ºC temp) and intermittent rains favour disease development.

5. Stem rot

Disease symptoms:

  • Infected seeds fail to germinate; rapid death of germinating seeds prior to emergence; water-soaked reddish lesions girdling the stem at the collar region results in the collapsing of emerged seedlings .

Survival and spread:

The pathogen survives as mycelium in dead or live plants and as sclerotia in infected plant parts or on the soil surface or with seed as contaminant. The fungus can spread in water, contaminated soil or on equipment.

Favourable conditions:

  • Rainy season favours the development of disease.


Benefits of Coriander

  • Coriander leaves are a wonderful source of dietary fibre, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Additionally, coriander leaves are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and protein. It is antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature.

  • Coriander contains linoleic acid and cineole which give anti-inflammatory properties to it. The herb helps in avoiding inflammation such as swelling due to arthritis, kidney malfunction or anaemia. The consumption of the coriander herb also improves skin appearance, helps fight fungal infections and eczema.

  • Linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are found in coriander that makes it effective in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. It helps in reducing the level of bad LDL cholesterol deposition raise the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol preventing multiple cardiovascular issues.

  • Coriander is helpful in stimulating blood sugar levels and is of medicinal value against diabetes. On consumption of this herb, the secretion of insulin is increased from the pancreas. This results in a subsequent increase in insulin level in the blood. As a result, proper assimilation and absorption of sugar are regulated in the body.

  • Coriander is rich in iron. It helps in preventing anaemia and facilitates the proper functioning of all organ systems.


Uses


Coriander has many different uses, as all parts of the plant are edible. In Thailand, even the roots are used in various dishes. Summer is the time to harvest coriander, first the leaves as well as the flowers, then in autumn, the seeds.


Using coriander seeds


The essential oils that give coriander seeds their flavour are partly formed only when the seeds are dried. So, drying after harvesting is essential for a full flavour. Ground coriander seeds are used, for example, in curries, cheese and baking as well as spice mixes for gingerbread, marinades or spirits such as gin and Carmelite water.


As a medicinal plant, coriander has been used since time immemorial to treat loss of appetite, colds, joint pain and migraines. For flatulence and other gastrointestinal complaints, the seeds are crushed and infused in tea, although the beneficial effect of coriander for digestive complaints and to relieve cramps is less than that of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and caraway. Coriander is also known to cause dizziness and intoxication if consumed in excess. Furthermore, the oil extracted from the seeds is used as a fragrance in the perfume industry.


Using coriander greens


The leaves of coriander are used fresh in many dishes of Indian, Asian and South American cuisine. The cilantro leaves also give the signature green colour to a traditional Spanish garlic sauce, mojo verde.


Coriander leaves should be used as fresh as possible, as they only keep for a few days.


Coriander flowers


In addition to the leaves and fruits, the coriander flowers are also edible and have the typical aroma of the herb. This makes them a delicious garnish.

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