13 October 2023

What's its name ?

This plant has more names than usual:  Cuban or Caribbean oregano, Mexican or soup or Indian mint although it's also known as Indian borage, Spanish or broadleaf thyme, and Vicks plant.  Got no idea where Vicks plant came from since I detect no menthol scent at all.  

The plant even has two botanical names:  Plectranthus amboinicus or Coleus amboinicus.

But it's a member of the mint family.  It's not a coleus, it's not an oregano, it's not borage, and it's not thyme.

I first encountered it in a friend's yard in Bluefields...shown here:

After a bit of a search online I found it and now have it in Virginia...shown here...

...and here

The color differences shown in the photos is real.  The plant in Bluefields has a slight blue tinge but the Bluefields plant is in full tropical sun and my plant is inside where it's growing well.  

Some people in full tropical sun have been known to turn red.  Maybe plants have a different reaction.

If I had to pick a name based on scent alone, I'd go with strong oregano scent.  Further, the leaves are edible, fresh or dried.  Chopped fresh leaves are said to be good in a salad or a marinade.  It's used mostly with poultry, lamb, or beef.  It's used in stuffing - again, either fresh or dried.  And I understand from people in Nicaragua who are familiar with it, the leaves, fresh or dried, make a good tea.

Its list of medicinal uses is - amazingly - longer than its list of names.