CORIANDER, the fruit, improperly called seed, of an umbelliferous plant (Coriandrum sativum), a native of the south of Europe and Asia Minor, but cultivated in the south of England, where it is also found as an escape, growing apparently wild. The name is derived from the Gr. (a bug), and was given on account of its foetid, bug-like smell. The plant produces a slender, erect, hollow stem rising 1 to 2 ft. in height, with bipinnate leaves and small flowers in pink or whitish umbels. The fruit is globular and externally smooth, having five indistinct ridges, and the mericarps, or half-fruits, do not readily separate from each other. It is used in medicine as an aromatic and carminative, the active principle being a volatile oil, obtained by distillation, which is isomeric with Borneo camphor, and may be given in doses of to 3 minims. On account of its pleasant and pungent flavour it is a favourite ingredient in hot curries and sauces. The fruit is also used in confectionery, and as a flavouring ingredient in various liqueurs. The essential oil on which its aroma depends is obtained from it by distillation. The tender leaves and shoots of the young plant are used in soups and salads.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)