SPECIES DESCRIPTION
ORIGANUM MICROPHYLLUM

Family and Genus:- See- LABIATAE/Sect. MAJORANA

Common Names:- None

Homotypic Synonyms:- Majorana microphylla

Meaning:- Origanum (Gr) Joy-of-the mountain. A name used by the Greek
philosopher Theophrastus for an aromatic herb.
                  Microphyllum (L) With small leaves.
                
General description:- Perennial dwarf shrub.

Stems:-
1) 20-50 cm, numerous, usually branched; branches slender, distinctly 4-angled,
    purplish, retrorsely hispidulous, becoming glabrescent with maturity.

Leaves:-
1) On the main branches, 4-8 x 3-6 mm, ovate to oblong, obtuse, rounded or
    subcordate at base, puberulent to whitish-tomentose, with indistinct veins.
2) Petiole, 1-15 mm.

Flowers:-
1) Spicules, 4-11 mm, subglobose or obconical to oblong, white-lanate, 1-3 at the
    end of lateral branches, forming lax, terminal panicles.
2) Bracts, 3-4 mm, broadly spathulate, rounded.
3) Calyx, 2-225 mm, obliquely truncate, entire at apex, glabrous, densely ciliate at
    the mouth.
4) Corolla, c. 5 mm, purple.
5) Stamens, shortly exserted.

Fruit:-
1) Nutlets x 4, 1 seeded.

Key features:-
1) Calyx. either with 5 equal teeth, or truncate and entire at the apex, or 1-lipped
    and with a deep slit on one side.

Click here for a glossary of terms used.

Habitat:- Rocky limestone slopes with open dry shrubby vegetation and open
coniferous woodland. (50-) 500-1400(-1800) m.

Distribution:- Cretan endemic. Primarily from the Lefka Ori and Dikti massifs,
where it is locally common.

Flowering time:- May-July, occasionally later.

Photos by:- Steve Lenton