Coriander grows wild over a wide area of the Near East and southern Europe, prompting the comment, “It is hard to define exactly where this plant is wild and where it only recently established itself.” Fifteen desiccated mericarps were found in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B level of the Nahal Hemel Cave in Israel, which may be the oldest archaeological find of coriander. About half a litre of coriander mericarps were recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamen, and because this plant does not grow wild in Egypt, Zohary and Hopf interpret this find as proof that coriander was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians.
Coriander seems to have been cultivated in Greece since at least the second millennium BC. One of the Linear B tablets recovered from Pylos refers to the species as being cultivated for the manufacture of perfumes, and it appears that it was used in two forms: as a spice for its seeds and as a herb for the flavour of its leaves. This appears to be confirmed by archaeological evidence from the same period: the large quantities of the species retrieved from an Early Bronze Age layer at Sitagroi in Macedonia could point to cultivation of the species at that time.
Coriander was brought to the British colonies in North America in 1670, and was one of the first spices cultivated by early settlers.
The nutritional profile of coriander seed is different from the fresh stems and leaves. However, the seeds do provide significant amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Sun: Full Sun
Spacing: 6 – 8”
Height: 18″ – 24″
Optimum Soil Ph: 6.5 – 7.5
Days To Maturity: 25 – 55
Sowing Method: Indoors or Outdoors
- Plant cilantro in the spring after the last frost date or in the fall. In the Southwest, a fall planting may last through spring when the weather heats up again.
- Do not grow in summer heat as the plants will bolt (so it is past harvesting). The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavor.
- it is best to chose a sunny site that will allow cilantro to self-seed as it is ought to do. Plant in an herb garden or the corner of a vegetable garden. When the weather gets warm, the plant will quickly finish its life cycle and send up a long stalk which will produce blossoms and later seeds. Little plants will sprout during the season and the next spring.
- Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil and space them 1 to 2 inches apart. Sow the seeds at 3-week intervals for continued harvest.
- Space rows about 12 inches apart.
- It is important to keep the seeds moist during their germination, so remember to water the plants regularly.