Saturday, March 06, 2010

What is an herb?

"For generations the herb garden has provided rich and poor alike with food, medicine, fragrance, and flowers and foliage to make life even more beautiful.

"With all their diversity, herbs are not easy to define. If you look up the definition of herb in 'Webster's Dictionary, herbs are defined as herbaceous plants with soft stems, and do not develop woody stems. Herb gardeners do not take this definition literally, or they would not be growing woody plants like rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, even roses, or trees like black birch or ginkgo.

"A more encompassing and widely accepted definition of an herb is a plant whose roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, or seed pods are valued for their medicinal, savory, and aromatic quality. But there is ambiguity here as well. What about vegetables? They are used for their flavor and healthful benefits. What about plants without a practical use, but are valued for their historical or sentimental significance? Does this not include most of the plants that are grown? We find that we could spend a large amount of our time enjoying this wide, wide variety of herbs. One can find a new plant and new use for that plant nearly every day."
- From Grand Oak Herb Farm flyer
Written by one of the Hargroves (Beulah?)

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