Coriander, a fresh, green fragrance
Coriander is a herb which grows as an annual plant (a plant which goes from germination, to producing seeds and then dies) and has a wide native area spanning from Southern Europe, Northern Africa and Southwestern Asia. It is also known as Chinese parsley, dhania or cilantro and comes from a family of mainly aromatic flowering plants called Apiaceae or Umbelliferae, or the family names you may be more familiar with the celery, carrot or parsley family.
The plant grows to around 50 centimeters tall (20 inches) with a varied leaf shape which are lobed broadly towards the base of the soft plant and slim and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers can be described as small umbels (think similar to umbrella ribs that fan out) and are white or very pale pink in colour.
The entire plant is edible, however it is usually the fresh leaves and dried seeds that are used in cooking around the world. It has a sharp taste, similar to the tartness of lemon/lime, some people describe the taste of the leaves as like dish soap and whilst this may seem like an exaggeration, however it is linked to a gene which detects some specific aldehydes that are also used in many soaps and detergents.
There are various names for the leaves of this plant. They are commonly referred to as either: coriander leaves, fresh coriander, Chinese parsley or the American and Canadian term, Cilantro. The leaves have a citrus overtone taste.
The leaves are a common ingredient in products such as Chutneys and Salsas as well as being added as a garnish, immediately before serving, to dishes such as soups, meat and fish. This ensures the flavour is retained and not diminished by the heat.
Perfumes and Fragrances
This plant oil can be used in perfumes and fragrances. It has quite a complex fragrance with a real mix of characters from a sweet, yet spicy with hints of a soft woody, peppery fragrance to an herbal, fresh floral scent with a slight musk.
When used in perfumes and colognes this contrasting scent has a formula which contributes to it having a citrusy top note, and a warm, amber base note.