What Are The 9 Different Types Of Cilantro

Cilantro is an annual plant in the family Apiaceae. The plant has a long history as a herb, and its leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Cilantro's flavor comes from the presence of three terpenoids, but it is less pungent than its neighbors in the onion family such as chives, garlic, and shallots.

Cilantro is also called fresh coriander, Chinese parsley, Mexican parsley, or Hindi dhaniya. The word "cilantro" is derived from the Spanish word for cilantro (or Italian), which in Latin was known as coriandrum.


Cilantro is the most common of three plants known as coriander; it has a soft, aromatic stalk and leaves that are used in cooking. Coriander refers more generally to the seed of cilantro, while coriander leaves refers to fresh leaves of other plants in the family Apiaceae.

The fresh leaves are sometimes called Chinese parsley, but they are unrelated to the herb called (European) coriander and have a different flavor, though there is some overlap in culinary usage.

Cilantro originally came from the Mediterranean area and was distributed around the world by extensive trade routes. It has been cultivated for so long that many consider it to be the "true" coriander.

Coriandrum sativum (cilantro) is one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans, grown for its leaves and its seeds. The most ancient evidence of cilantro use was found in China about 9,000 years ago in Neolithic sites, where cilantro was grown along with beans, peas, and lentils. It is unknown if cilantro was used as a spice or eaten as a vegetable at this time.

Vietnamese Cilantro

Vietnamese cilantro is also called Vietnamese coriander. In Vietnam, the leaves of Vietnamese cilantro are used as a vegetable in dishes such as rolls, salads, and soup. They are also eaten raw and used to wrap spring rolls or added as a garnish on white rice.

Vietnamese coriander is an ingredient in the famous Vietnamese dipping sauce, "nuoc cham". This strongly-flavoured, salty sauce is made from sugar, water, lime juice, fish sauce and chili. It can be used for dipping grilled meat or other foods. Vietnamese coriander leaves are also the main ingredient in "rau muống", a salad consisting of minced seafood and pork mixed with the herb and served raw.

Vietnamese cilantro has also been used traditionally to treat stomachaches and other general illnesses in Vietnamese culture, and it is well known today for its medicinal effects as an antispasmodic, diuretic and mild sedative.

Leaf Cilantro

Leaf cilantro is native to tropical regions in America and Asia. It has been grown for thousands of years as a leafy vegetable, medicinal herb, and seasoning.

Leaf cilantro is not as widely used in America, but in drought-prone areas of southern Asia and Africa, it is often the first crop to be planted after a dry spell. It has also been cultivated for thousands of years for its medicinal effects as a blood purifier, pain reliever, skin coolant and cure for bad breath.

Leaf cilantro is most often used as a garnish, eaten raw or added to a stir fry. It has a peppery taste and is sometimes added to salsas and salads.

Indian Summer Cilantro

Indian summer cilantro is a type of cilantro that was first grown in India and has been growing there for thousands of years. It is also known as "Summer cilantro", "Jungle coriander" or "Winter coriander".

Indian summer cilantro goes dormant during winter but comes back to life when the weather gets warm. It produces white or pink flowers during the warm months. It is a hardy plant that needs little water and can grow in many soils, including clay, sand, gravel and rock.

Indian summer cilantro grows best at altitudes from 300 to 1,500 meters above sea level. In India, it has traditionally been used as an annual herbal remedy for half a dozen common health ailments such as cold, cough, fever, bilious troubles and worms. It is used today in many parts of the world to treat bad breath and to relieve minor stomach aches.

Thai Cilantro

Thai cilantro (Chinese: 茜芹; pinyin: qíncài), also known as Chinese parsley, is a herb or spice from the family Apiaceae. It grows like other types of cilantro in Thailand and has been used by Thai cooks since ancient times.

Thai cilantro is similar to coriander leaves (Coriandrum sativum) but tastes milder. The leaves have a stronger flavour than seeds or roots and are used in stir-fries, curries and salads.

The herb is also used in the south of India, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Thai cilantro is a very popular herb in Thailand. It is often used as garnish and give a fresh flavour to many dishes, such as Thai salads, soups, omelettes and deep-fried vegetables (Ekakit). In Thai salads, it is usually served raw with fresh and hot chilli pepper.

In traditional Thai medicine, the herb is believed to have a cooling effect on the body, which helps to relieve a sore throat or fever. It also said to help circulation and lower blood pressure.

Thai cilantro has been cultivated for thousands of years in Thailand and is the main ingredient in many Thai dishes. It has also been used in traditional medicine to reduce fever; treat coughs and colds; improve circulation; prevent blood clots; aid digestion; increase breast milk production, etc.

Indian Cilantro

Indian, or Holy cilantro is an annual herbaceous plant from the family of Apiaceae. It bears white flowers and edible leaves. 

Its seeds are used as a spice. The name "Coriandrum sativum" comes from the Greek word koris (bedbug) and anthemon (a flower), because the smell of its crushed leaves resembles the smell of a crushed bed bug.

Indian coriander plants flower during June–August. It grows to a height of 10 inches to 1 ft, with slender stems. The large leaves are opposite, ovate, 3–6 inches long and 1-2 inches broad.

Indian coriander plant's fruits are small dry achenes; like all other umbellifers it has a characteristic feathery look due to the fernlike pappus attached to its seeds. The fruit is about 0.5 mm long, pale whitish in color, with five pale ridges.

Indian coriander plant called as 'sabja' in India, and is used fresh or dried for flavoring many dishes; the leaves are also purplish-red sprigs, and are an ingredient in some Indian cuisines.

Mexican Coriander

Mexican coriander (Coriandrum sativum var. microcitroides) seeds have been found in Mayan ruins, indicating that they have been consumed for thousands of years. It thrives in hot weather and high altitudes at sea level to about 3000 feet (910 m) above sea level.

Its leaves are similar to the common coriander but smaller and with more rounded tips giving a lacy appearance. Its roots have an intense aroma, so much so that they are used as a substitute for the common coriander. Mexican coriander is available in two forms: whole seeds and ground seeds, which are very different in colour from the common variety.

The seeds are seldom used as a spice, but rather as an herb to flavor foods and drinks such as cornbread or quesadillas, soup, chicken broth, rice pilafs, fruit salads, fruit smoothies and to make chocolate. Because of its many uses, Mexican coriander seeds are sometimes referred to as Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley.

Potluck Coriander

The Potluck Coriander has extra large leaves. They are long-stemmed, with hairy stems and crinkly edges. The flavor is very similar to the common coriander but slightly more bitter.

It has small clusters of white flowers that bloom in early summer. The leaves are more numerous than other coriander varieties, and grow up to 30 centimeters long or longer. Some leaves can be twice as large as others when they grow from the same plant.

Because they are so large, the leaves and stalks have a tendency to grow tough or woody if not harvested before they mature. They are used fresh in salads, soups, stir fries, and curries.

Seed Coriander

The Seed Coriander is a variety of the species Coriandrum sativum commonly known as "cilantro" or "Chinese parsley". Its leaves are long-stemmed, with hairy stems and crinkly edges. The flavor is very similar to the common coriander but slightly more bitter.

The texture is more rough than the common coriander and its leaves are wider. The seed coriander originated in south-western Asia, and it can be found growing wild throughout Syria and Lebanon.

It has also been used as a medicinal herb and food flavoring in many cultures around the world.


1) What does coriander taste like?

The flavor seems to vary depending on the source. However, this is an acceptable description: "The leaves are pungent and light in flavor with a refreshing citrus overtone."

2) What is coriander used for?

Aside from the obvious culinary uses, coriander has been used as a medicine and as an incense. It's also been used in witchcraft. In addition, it contains phytochemicals that have medicinal value. By itself or in combination with other herbs, coriander was used to treat intestinal issues, diarrheal diseases and problems with the genitourinary system.

3) Is coriander an herb?

Yes, it is a herb that belongs to the family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae along with dill and carrot. Other members of this family are equally interesting herbs: cumin, parsley, fennel and anise. As we all know, ginger is a spice that also belongs to this family.

4) Is it safe for cats?

Cats should not eat cilantro as it can be toxic.

5) Is it dangerous for pregnant women?

Although there is no research regarding this use, some individuals suggest avoiding cilantro during pregnancy. According to several online forums, the phytochemicals in cilantro are what make people think it is dangerous when in fact it has been used to treat certain problems during pregnancy for centuries. However, you should make your own decision and consult a doctor if you are concerned.

6) What are the health benefits of cilantro?

Coriandrum sativum is a healthy herb. The leaves offer vitamins A,E and K and also have great amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus as well as inorganic salts like zinc, manganese and copper. Leaves are rich sources of phytochemicals like polyphenols, quercetin and kaempferol.

The stalks have phytochemicals too: phenolic acids, triterpenoids and flavonoids. In fact, coriander has more antioxidants than broccoli and red wine. Additionally, it's been found to be beneficial for your digestive system by stimulating digestion.

According to experts, cilantro leaves are said to enhance the taste and flavor of a dish or food product. This is because they contain an active ingredient called coumarin which gives that characteristic citrus flavor similar to lemon. It also has antifungal properties (so don't add it if you want your bread dough to rise).

7) How do you grow coriander?

Coriander is best grown indoors. Soil should be placed in a pot or in a garden, preferably with good exposure to sunlight and fertile soil. A temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the plant. Cilantro likes fertile soils that are high in organic content. Bathroom heaters should be placed near the plants to ensure continued optimum temperature required for its growth. Once harvest is completed, a new crop may be planted in the same soils within 2 weeks.

8) Is it easy to grow?

Since coriander is an annual plant, you have to sow seeds every year and constantly replace your supply of fresh herbs. However, coriander plant seeds can be expensive and the effort required may not justify the benefit for many households.


Coriander plant has been used for centuries as a culinary herb. It is an important ingredient in many Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, including salad dressings, omelets, curries and soups. In addition to that, it is an excellent condiment for fish or cooked chicken dishes. Its medicinal values are also highly recognized and it is believed to be an effective treatment for loss of appetite, intestinal problems and genitourinary issues. 

If you are thinking about trying growing cilantro plant in your own home, think again. It takes a lot of effort, time and expense to grow coriander properly. But if you can handle the challenge, then you can get fresh and delicious coriander for your cooking and medicinal purposes.

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