Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) is a plant with many uses. Its leaves are known as cilantro and are used for seasoning foods. Its seed, actually a fruit, is the spice called coriander. About 3,958 tons of coriander, worth $9 million, was imported into the US in 1999 (1).
Both the herb and seed of coriander are a source of essential oil. Cilantro oil is steam distilled from the immature plant, while coriander oil is distilled from the crushed mature seeds. Large-seeded and small-seeded forms are available. The large-seeded forms are lower in essential oil but mature in a shorter season (100 days). The small-seeded form requires a longer growing season to mature seed (120 days) and may not be dependable in western Montana.
The annual plant is easy to grow and self-seeds readily. Seed is direct-sown in the field and seedlings will tolerate light spring frost.
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