Bible Hyssop, Lebanese Oregano, Syrian Oregano, Za'atar, Zaatar

Origanum syriacum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Origanum (or-RI-ga-num) (Info)
Species: syriacum (seer-ee-AK-um) (Info)
Synonym:Majorana syriaca
Synonym:Origanum maru





Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink



Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From hardwood heel cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed


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

Birmingham, Alabama

Hollywood, Florida

Rockville, Maryland

Humble, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 15, 2015, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

I shall see if this plant can be as hardy as zone 6 here, it is worthy for the experiment!


On Aug 22, 2015, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Fairly easily cultivated from seed, this delicious herb appreciates sun and water when young, but watering should be curtailed as the plant matures. Fast draining soil is a must, and I've learned this the hard way. This low maintenance plant makes a wonderful addition to any herb garden, and will thrive wherever Mediterranean plants (e.g. fennel, lavender, oregano, etc.) succeed. This woody herb has been hardy to nights of 13F (-11C) so far with ample mulching. I suspect that it will survive colder temperatures with proper mulching and care.


On Mar 31, 2015, Shirrush from Ramat Gan,
Israel wrote:

Yes it does grow wild in Israel, but it is nevertheless a protected species. The responsible way to obtain the "Za'athar asli" spice is to grow your own, and plants are commonly on offer in retail nurseries throughout Israel. In the garden, it develops into a sturdy perennial, but root-collar rot is a known hazard: plant it in a well-drained, sunny spot, do not overwater and do not mulch!
Runners are a common occurrence, and they can be used for propagation, but it is quite easy to grow it from seed. I never had any luck with cuttings, but this is the way commercial nurseries do it.

The name Majorana syriaca is now obsolete, and it should be called Origanum syriacum. Most Oregano varieties grown in Israel have some Za'athar DNA, because the researchers at the Ministry... read more


On Jun 1, 2012, dk_in_md_z7 from North Bethesda, MD wrote:

I think the hardiness data is off for this plant.. I live in a wet (non-mediterrenean) zone 7 in Maryland, and this plant not only has come back every year for about 10 years, but usually stays green in the lower parts all winter. It's seen as low as 5 degrees F in 2009. It is in a open, exposed, non protected location. It gets bigger every year.


On Jul 31, 2008, absi from Santa Clara, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is also known as Zaatar, or Middle Eastern Oregano (as opposed to Greek Oregano).


On Oct 29, 2006, B1ZZYL1ZZY from Javea,
Spain (Zone 10a) wrote:

Very pretty fuzzy leaves and strong oregano flavour. I love this little herb! Propagated very easily from seeds bought from Horizon Herbs. Should be tolerant of our 10a hardiness zone. First winter will tell. Everyone should try this - it's probably hardier than you think. Keep it on the dry side in winter.

Also known as Za'atar from its use in the herb mix for the Lebanese bread Manakeesh.


On Nov 17, 2005, udigg from PH,
Israel (Zone 10b) wrote:

Grows wild in Israel. Very aromatic and delicious. Main component in the mixture Arab spice called Za'atar.