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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Coriandrum
Species: sativum

Scientific name
Coriandrum sativum

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb commonly used in Latin American, Indian, and Southeast Asian cooking. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seedpods are the most commonly used in cooking. Coriander belongs to the parsley or carrot family, Apiaceae.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Fruit
3 Leaves


It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area, and in Southwest Europe. Some believe its use began as far back as 5,000 BC, and there is evidence of its use by the Egyptians. In the Bible, Exodus, chapter 16, verse 31, it says that: "And the house of Israel called the name there of Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Coriander was brought to America in 1670 and was one of the first spices cultivated by early settlers.


The fruits are known as coriander seeds and have a lemon citrus flavor when crushed. It is also described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured. They are usually dried but can be eaten green. Ground coriander is a major ingredient in curry powder and other aromatic dishes.

If the spice is bought whole in a non-dried form, it can be dried in the sun. Most commonly, it is bought as whole dried fruits, or in ground form. If whole, it can be roasted or heated on a dry pan briefly to enhance the aroma before grinding it in an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Store coriander in a tightly sealed container away from sunlight and heat. For maximum flavour use within 6 months and keep for no more than 1 year.

It is a key ingredient in Indian curries and garam masala. It is also used in Ethiopian and Arabic cooking.


The leaves are variously referred to as cilantro (from the Spanish name for the plant), coriander leaves, Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley. The leaves have a very different taste from the seeds. They taste soapy to some people. This difference in perception of the flavor of the leaves may have a genetic cause. The fresh leaves are used as garnish in many Asian and Mexican salsas.