Monday, February 27, 2012

Curry plant: Helichrysum italicum

Helichrysum italicum, Curry Plant

During the few days of sunshine we had last week, the aromatic plants released their fragrance stored in the oil glands of their leaves into the air. A delicious scent of curry and honey surrounds this plant on a hot day. This is a small shrub from the daisy family growing to about 50cm and spreading to about 60cm. It is native to the Mediterranean basin and is found growing on dry rocky alkaline soils and prefers similar conditions in a garden or it will be short lived. Planting it close to a path or in a rockery is a good way to grow it and when the small yellow papery flowers appear they can be picked for drying as they retain their spicy smell. Curry plant has no culinary value but is often sold with herb plants and I wonder how many cooks have tried a few leaves expecting food to be enhanced by the flavour. No chance. Curry plant is easy to grow from cuttings placed directly into a sandy soil during autumn.

1 comment:

  1. I've known people to insist that this is what flavours curry and sell it for its culinary properties (which are zilch) at fairs, fetes and garage sales...finally I've discovered someone who agrees with me. I was beginning to doubt myself.