Related to the very popular dried Strawflower, Curry
Plant proves once again that the useful plants in a genus don't usually
inherit the beauty genes. It seems illustrators, and even some purveyors of
Curry Plant oil,
tend to confuse this Helichrysum with the Strawflower. We have found
numerous photos of Strawflowers used to represent Curry Plant. Even in the
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, (a great book for
describing oils and their benefits), there is a photo of the
right leaves but a drawing of the wrong flower. They even confuse the
common names of Immortelle and Everlasting with Curry Plant. These names
apply to the beautiful Strawflower but certainly don't describe the wispy
Another common misconception is that
Curry Plant is the tropical tree Murraya koenigii whose leaves
are used in curries. This small tree is extremely rare in this country
and for us has not performed well even in a greenhouse situation.
Helichrysum oil has recently been reinvestigated as a
medicinal herb. It is reputed to be good for bruises and varicose veins.
But, you will probably have to make your own oil or infusion. There is
very little oil commercially available which tends to make it a bit
pricey. The Home Herbal
is a great source for how to make almost any kind of medicinal preparation
from your own herbs.
With Curry Plant the million dollar question is,
"What does it taste like?" Why do you think we gave you the
medicinal value first? While not very tasty, Curry Plant smells strongly like Curry spices.
But, Curry Plant is not where Curry Seasoning comes
from. Curry is actually a blend of many different herbs. The herbs used in real Curry vary from region to region.
When Curry Plant is mentioned with food, it is always
used sparingly, a few leaves in a mayonnaise or a sprig tucked in a cavity
of a chicken. The flavor is not Curry but is strong. It is also difficult
to describe. However, trimming Curry Plant in the garden will leave you
pleasantly reeking like an Indian restaurant the rest of the day.
The Great Curries of India
is valuable book for learning to cook with Curries.
The taste of the small flowers has
been likened to blue cheese. They are extremely potent so we use only a
very small amount. Curry Plant makes a good flower to add to our
Edible Flower Herb Garden Six Pack.
Curry Plant also makes a great
addition to our Zone 8 Fragrant