Vietnamese Coriander

Persicaria odorata

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria (per-sih-KAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: odorata (oh-dor-AY-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Polygonum odoratum



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Birmingham, Alabama

Lafayette, California

Richmond, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Cape Coral, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Marrero, Louisiana

Pownal, Maine

Baltimore, Maryland

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Yukon, Oklahoma

Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cedar Park, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 24, 2015, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

P. odorata is known to the Vietnamese as "Rau Ram". It is easily rooted by inserting cuttings into a glass of water kept in a sunny position. 12 cuttings received in the post yielded a 100% survival rate.

Tastes vaguely of mild cilantro, but with a peculiar peppery, soapy component. It's rather odd at first, but then tends to be addicting. It is very complimentary to Vietnamese style soups (pho). Appreciates moist to boggy soil and plenty of warmth and sun. The aroma emanates from the plant following a good rain. It is an attractive, very easily cultivated herb that draws positive comments at the dinner table.

As another user revealed in photos, I have also found this plant to be a host to some type of parasitic fly. Two stem cuttings I received in the mail h... read more


On Jul 12, 2013, isom from Mission BC
Canada (Zone 8b) wrote:

I was introduced to this herb by a Cambodian friend & I loved its strong peppery taste in Vietnamese foods. Since we have a Vietnamese grocery shop in a nearby town, I decided to try growing it from cuttings. It roots amazingly well. It's related to Polygonum punctatum (Smartweed) but needs much wetter conditions to thrive & letting the soil get too dry spells doom for the plant (though it might recover if caught in time).

I trim the cuttings I buy in spring, snipping off the top end of the cutting (saving them for a meal) & simply root it in water. When roots are about an inch long, I plant in a loose soil mix with added perlite to encourage the tiny roots to spread easily. I keep them in a semi-shaded place in a good sized pot outside, trimming what I need when I want some... read more


On Aug 8, 2012, gen_s from Saaint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Canada wrote:

Pretty plant, easy and care free, lasting longer than coriander ( in our short but hot summers -z4b- coriander tends to seed quickly). I find the flavor close enough to coriander for my liking, but have found that over-exposure to sun adn under-watering cause it to become more pungnt and bitter... so a light shade location and constant humidity shoud do the trick.

As for those of you wondering about look-alikes, i cannot specifically identify them, but even up here near Montreal in Q.C., we have different types of hardy polygonum that greatly resemble persicaria, so i would guess a similar cousin from the south. (see wikipedia article about polygonum and more specifically polygonum persicaria -since more recent classifications of this last species list it as persicaria macu... read more


On Jul 11, 2012, bktstudio from Yukon, OK wrote:

there is a pest disease that I just found. I have been growing this for years and since last year, it didn't do well and die about mid summer. I saw alot of swollen nodes on the stems and didn't know what they were. This year, it happens again. And I decided to dissect one node to see what's inside. I've seen all kinds of creatures in the garden but this node gave me lots of goose bumps. There was a maggot like worm inside that node and that is the culpit that kills my plant. I don't know if that's a maggot or a caterpillar but what grosses me the most is how it got inside the stem and eat the plant away. I'm trying to find more info about this pest. I post a picture. check it out.


On Nov 18, 2011, gsteinbe from Trenton, NJ wrote:

I have been very disappointed with this plant. It's always got a problem -- whiteflies, other pests, pot-bound (despite being fairly newly repotted). And it doesn't taste like cilantro or coriander at all, as far as I can tell. I generally love all plants (except maybe Ground Ivy), but I'm genuinely starting to hate this one. So much bother for so little reward. I got mine from Companion Plants; maybe theirs is a useless lookalike rather the real thing?

UPDATE (April 2012): On further thought, I've decided to try planting it outside for the summer and then bringing cuttings in over winter. Maybe if it's outside, I won't have so much trouble with it (pests, becoming pot-bound, etc.). Maybe too it's flavor will increase.

Add in May 2013: No luck outside... read more


On Aug 20, 2011, juku from York Point, NS (Zone 5a) wrote:

One of my favorites. I left them outdoor ignorantly and it lasted for 2 winters (Zone 5a) before one extreme cold spell killed them. Now, I take a bush indoor and replant the cuttings outdoor in spring. By the 2nd week of summer, my garden bed are full of them.

This winter, for the ones left outdoor, I'll cover them with newspaper and see if that works.

Grows better in shade.

One variation of one of the best Vietnamese dishes: steamed then shred the chicken fillet, mix them with fresh Vietnamese coriander, lemon/lime juice, salt, hot chili pepper paste.

Happy Gardening & Cooking!


On Aug 15, 2011, editanlaurel from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I have always liked the flavor of this Vietnamese coriander, especially in salads (even in Papaya salad made by a Cambodian). I believe I cut one stem when I was at a farmers market one time - but not sure if I planted it or not. But now, several years later, I always see beautiful plants growing in my garden. The leaves look exactly like the one in the picture - with the same description, etc. It also smells nice. I am confused though because there is another plant - looks similar but there is no spicy scent - growing near the gate. I am pretty sure that is not a Vietnamese coriander. Whenever I go to the farmers market I pinch a little bit and taste it, the flavor is not as bitter as the one that I have. I do hope it is not another look alike. I will be posting a picture of the two plant... read more


On Jul 28, 2011, dojustdat from Baltimore, MD wrote:

After growing them in different spots, I found out that if you grow them in a location where you get too much sunlight will cause the dark V spot on the leaves. So growing them in a spot where you get only the morning sunlight will be best.


On Nov 28, 2010, elimar from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I can't grow cilantro here very well, but this plant is completely trouble free. It tastes almost like fresh cilantro - i put it fresh chopped on tacos, etc.


On Feb 25, 2010, lokidog from Logan, UT wrote:

I think the ID about this growing in PA are incorrect - it's not a hardy plant (maybe to zone 9), but there are many look alikes. It also does not get that tall (at least here where climate is similar). The plant rarely sets seed except in the tropics. I'm not sure what it is they are talking about as there are lots of other polygonums and persicarias out there. This plant is strongly flavored - and has a strong odor when crushed. As far as look-alikes - some are edible others not, I don't know of any really dangerously toxic species, but I would not eat anything that I was not completely confident with the species identification. Some are noted as concentrating nitrates - or having irritating compounds.

I have much success with this in a pot - a sort of mini pond. I th... read more


On Aug 27, 2008, philotea from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I have a "new" yard in Philadelphia this year (a friendly neighbor razed the back yard last June before we moved in). This year we had several volunteers of (I think) vietnamese coriander. I liked its form and let it I have a forest. When staked, they're about 6 feet tall!

Can anyone provide more information about its growing habit, propagation, etc.? Is there a look-alike plant I might be mistaking for persicaria odorata? Any warnings?


On Aug 6, 2006, melangemerchant from Adelaide
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

Persicaria odorata grows best in warm sunny, to part shade position in moist or wet soil. It will grow in shallow water quite happily, in the margin of a pond or bog garden. When grown in a more shaded position its leaves become more pale green and lose their distinctive arrow shaped pattern. The plant overwinters here without any trouble, tollerating near frost but will die if exposed to temperatures below freezing.
Used as a culinary herb throughout South East Asia, in the cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos etc. The leaves are shedded or used whole in curries, soups, noodles etc, especially with coconut milk and famously in Laksa soup. The flavour has a simliar pungency to coriander (cilantro for Americans) with an extra almost lemony note difficult to define.
De... read more


On Aug 26, 2004, weedville from Marcus Hook, PA wrote:

This plant grows like a weed in my back yard herb garden. The soil is wet most of the time, and the plant is in part shade. Makes great herb vinegar!


On May 5, 2002, HelenaCook from Oldham, Lancashire
United Kingdom wrote:

Easy to care for, needs to overwinter inside since it doesn't like the cold,(my garden being in the northwest of England!) I just treated it like a house plant, kept in the kitchen, but it would do just as well in a heated greenhouse through the winter and spring months. A lovely herb to use in stirfrys and curries... goes particularly well with pork and pineapple...has a hot slightly peppery spicy flavour...ideal for growing in a tub on the patio, in general purpose compost...doesn't like being to wet or too dry...