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Flavourful dried leaves and flowering tops of any of various perennial herbs of the mint family, particularly Origanum vulgare. Oregano is an essential ingredient of Mediterranean cuisines; in the U.S., use of oregano rose sharply in the late 20th century, largely because of the popularity of pizza. Native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, the herbs are now naturalized in parts of Mexico and the U.S.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on oregano, visit Britannica.com.