See also: Coriander Trivia; Article: Cilantro
Cilantro, Chinese parsley and fresh coriander leaves are different names for the same plant. Cilantro usually refers to the fresh leaves used as an herb, and coriander to the seeds used as a spice. They are quite different in flavor, can not be used as substitutes for one another. The roots are also eaten as a vegetable.
Cilantro is mentioned in the Medical Papyrus of Thebes written in 1552 B.C. and is one of the plants which grew in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Ancient Hebrews added Cilantro to an herb mixture used in the ritual of Passover. Greek and Roman physicians hailed its medicinal powers. The Coriandum sativum herb is believed to have been one of the earliest plantings in North America - dating back to 1670 in Massachusetts - and it soon appeared in Latin America where the Cilantro leaves, rather than the seed, became most popular.
Cilantro is believed to have been one of the earliest plantings in North America, where the cilantro leaves, rather than the seed, became more popular. Today, it is cultivated in the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, Mexico and the U.S.
Cilantro is one of those tastes that people either love or hate, and descriptions of its taste and aroma vary widely. Here are some of the descriptions of it's flavor and odor from various sources:
slightly soapy; like parsley but tangier; cirtusy, biting tang; fragrant; zesty; muddy; a mixture of cumin and caraway; stinky bed bug flavor; smells and tastes of chemicals; pungent; unforgettably pungent; sharp, strong, earthy; sage citrus flavor; clean and distinct flavor; orange peel-like aroma; sweet flavor; slight numbing quality; like wood bugs'; wild and uncharacterizable.
Coriander is mentioned as an aphrodisiac in The Tales of the Arabian Nights.