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Thread: What is a Herb?

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    veggiechicken's Avatar
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    Default What is a Herb?

    Its raining and I'm sorting my box of herb seeds
    Some of the "herbs" shouldn't be there - but why?

    I'm curious to know why some plants are called herbs. What makes a plant a "herb"?What do you think it means?
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    I thought herb was an abbreviation of herbacaous, so for me a herb is a seed bearing plant (to rule out mosses/ferns and such) which doesn't have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering (biennials) or in the wintertime, and regrows from seeds (annuals) or roots (perennials).
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    Then I suppose you can sub-divide them into culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and everything else.
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    Which ones shouldn't be there?
    I've no idea why a herb is a herb? They are weird little bu@@ers ! Some are what seasoning / flavourings, others are medical (beat the living daylights out of it. Turning it into a pultice and curing all ills......... Apparently )

    I'm going to be pondering this for the rest of the afternoon, thanks VC

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    Thelma Sanders is online now Gardening Guru
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    For me herbs are culinary, useful in the house for soap or Potpourri etc , or medicinal plants. For contrast my neighbour who's American uses the term for any non-woody plant.
    Seems we are both correct
    herb /həːb/
    noun plural noun: herbs
    1.
    any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine, or perfume.
    "bundles of dried herbs"
    2.
    any seed-bearing plant which does not have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering.
    "the banana plant is the world's largest herb"

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    veggiechicken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mothhawk View Post
    I thought herb was an abbreviation of herbacaous, so for me a herb is a seed bearing plant (to rule out mosses/ferns and such) which doesn't have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering (biennials) or in the wintertime, and regrows from seeds (annuals) or roots (perennials).
    How about rosemary and sage? They don't die down in winter but they're "herbs".

    Confusing innit.
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    chris_m is offline Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggiechicken View Post
    How about rosemary and sage? They don't die down in winter but they're "herbs".
    And thyme - unless that which I sowed nigh-on 12 months ago simply hasn't yet learnt that it's supposed to die down.

    Also camomile - unless the variety people use to make lawns is not the same as the herb.
    Last edited by chris_m; 10-02-2018 at 03:56 PM.
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    All the best from rural South Cumbria
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    burnie is online now Veggie gardener
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    Front end of a Herbert?(no idea lol).

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