Tuesday, May 29, 2012


For many years I thought that I had Dittany of Crete, Oreganum dictamnus,  growing in my garden. I have given away many cuttings with the wrong name.

What I have here is Oreganum pulchellum. The same showy clusters of pink flowers but a different species of dittany.

 I only came to realize this when I was at the nursery one day and saw a 4" pot labeled Dittany of Crete, Oreganum dictamnus. The leaf was clearly different. This is O. pulchellum leaf.

This much fuzzier one O.dictamnus.

Flowering is about to begin on both plants and for both it will be long panicles of hop-like blooms. The plant makes a spectacular showing which is perfect for hanging over a wall. Although the two large plants of O.pulchella  are in the herb garden I took cuttings this year and planted them to hang over the low wall behind the vegetable garden.

The real Dittany of Crete is the front courtyard where, once established, it will require little in the way of water.


  1. This is an interesting plant. I'd like to try this one out myself. You can tell it will do well in our areas because of the hairs on the leaf. It doesn't look like it should get too much water once established. I really like the leaves on this plant. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ah! I have one of those cuttings from you! It was very small, and around that time i too saw a 4 inch Dittany of Crete and bought it. i have both of them in pots near one another, and when they were tiny i had no reason to think they were different, the foliage was identical. but now they have grown they are clearly different! thank you for clearing up this little dittany mystery :)

  3. Ah ha! I have a cutting from your garden too. Glad to know the difference. The transplant you gave me is being over taken by a flame acanthus. The oregano will have to be given a new location come fall. It's cute little flowers are going to be a welcome addition to my garden. Thanks for the pass-along!