Did you know that the first type of leaf that grows from a coriander plant is cilantro?  I didn't.  I always thought that the plant was called cilantro...

I was super excited to grow this because it's one of my favorite herbs.   I got my start and put it in the ground.  It started kind of slow and then had a great spurt of growth.  I was able to add yummy cilantro to my salads for maybe two weeks.  Then the leaves started to change shapes and I could see the inevitable was happening.   The plant was going to seed.
This is not my plant, but shows good detail of how the leaves change when it starts going to seed.  Look closely - The leaves on the top left of the plant are pre-seed leaves.

This made me sad because I had assumed that I would get a much longer harvest period.  I had tried to talk a friend in Texas through the process of nurturing the tender plant and assumed her failure was do to the fact that she didn't have my master gardening skills.  Arrogant, huh!?!  Gotta love a garden for putting things in perspective!  As my plant went from tender precious cilantro leaves to thinner and elongated pre-flowering leaves I tried everything to change the course of nature and bring back that yummy cilantro.  I would have pictures of my plant, but didn't want to document my "failure".  Silly me!

A Lesson In Letting Go Of Control:
I watered more frequently and diligently pinched off the forming flower buds.  I thought that maybe coriander was similar to basil and would produce new shoots that would give me back my tasty salad herb.  As the new shoots grew I quickly saw that no, coriander is not like basil.  The new shoots grew that same pre-flowering leaf.  I did at least try that in my salad.  It worked okay.  (I've since learned that I was just growing coriander a bit out of season.  It likes cooler spring and fall temps.  I started it in late May.)

I considered pulling the plant, but decided to leave it in and see what happens.  The flowers were pretty and I didn't really grow many flowers this year.  So I left it.  It is always interesting to watch the flowering process.  As the petals died off I saw these little clumps of small green balls forming.  Curious?

As the plant dried out these seeds grew.  I tasted them and they seemed familiar.  A quick internet search told me that I had a big 'ole bunch of maturing coriander seed!  I was instructed to harvest them as they turned brown.  So far this is what I've got:

It's going to be so hot when I grind my fresh seed to spice up my dinner one night!  Oh my, that sounded dirty.


  1. your friend in TX sounds awesome. today i went looking for fresh cilantro at the grocery store, to complete a Bobby Flay fish taco recipe. unfortunately it was nowhere to be found. i think it's just been too hot here lately. so thanks to the knowledge from a gardener friend of mine in WA, i used some coriander seeds in the sauce instead. definitely doesn't taste like cilantro, but felt like the right substitute given that it's the same plant.

  2. ooh, what'd you cook? do share...