Sundermann's Flowering Oregano
"In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs."
-Merchant of Venice,
Origanum suendermannii (or sundermanii) has to date been much more available in Europe. We obtained this rarely offered oregano from a small grower, Overland Enterprises, in Seattle, & put it in our garden just as Autumn was beginning, in 2005.
Its relative rarity is puzzling because it is one of the lovelier-flowered groundcover oreganos, blooming persistently from the start of July (as in the first photo with true flowers among the flower-like bracts) until October (as in the second, when it's only barely winding down).
The tiny tubular pink flowers are very persistent, & set amidst such colorful bracts as to seem five or six times bigger than the actual flower. The leaves are a very pleasant in shifting shades of light green & bluish grey-green. It's largely evergreen though it can get a mite tatty toward the end of winter.
It wants full sun & well-draining soil. We gave it a xeric location where it very nearly needs no watering at all. It spreads slowly & is never as dense a groundcover as dwarf creeping oregano (Origanum vulgar ssp hirtum 'Humile') which grows nearby & tries to displace the Sundermann's, which manages to hold its own. It is never a dense groundcover like 'Humile' but is more loosely spreading.
It greatly resembles Origanum rotundifolium 'Kent Beauty' except with a more pastel coloration & slightly smaller size. As with 'Kent Beauty' it is strictly ornamental, not one of the flavorful oreganos.
The species is named for the Bavarian botanist Franz Sundermann, founder in 1886 of the Botanische Alpengarten (Botanical Alpine Garden) in Lindau, Bavaria, today overseen by his grandson Ferdinand Sundermann.
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