Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) comprising two species C. sativum L. 2n=22 cultivated widely in the tropics also originated here and one wild C. tordylium, belongs to the family umbelliferae similar to carrot. Generally it is known as Cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania in some countries. It is believed that coriander originated in Southern Europe and North Africa. Countries like Canada, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Bulgaria and Romania are main producers. Coriander can be cultivated as summer or winter annual crop and seed should be sown in field after danger of frost. Climatic conditions full to partial sunlight and soil should be well drained with average fertility. After sowing about 4 to 7 weeks should start harvesting of leaves. The fruit (seed) of coriander plant after drying their parts used as dried spice. Whole seed or ground powder form available in markets.
Coriander is an erect and branched soft annual herb upto 50 cm long. The stem green in color more or less upright with several side branches at the basal node, each branch ends up with an inflorescence. The Leaves comprise of basal cluster rectangular to ovate ranging from 3 to 15 cm in length. Leaflets are 1 to 2 cm in length and are ovate to round. Petals and stamens are 5 in numbers. The petals and sepals are separate and not fused. The petals pointing away irregularly from the Centre of the umbel are 5 to 6 mm or more in length than those pointing toward it only 1 to 3 mm long. The flowers are like small umbels, white or pale pink in color.
Generally the fruit is dry but when ripe does not split open. Fruit is 2 to 6 mm in length. The Fruit shape is round, having yellow to brown color range.
When we study nutrition value of coriander then found coriander seeds is different nutritionally from the fresh stems and leaves. Leaves are specifically contain vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, with little contents of dietary minerals. Relatively seeds have not higher contents of vitamins, although they are rich source of dietary fiber, calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
The suitable breeding method for coriander associated with the pollination biology. It is facultative cross pollinator and the plants of coriander after selfing do not show certain inbreeding depression. And outcrossing also take place if pollen from other coriander plant reach the stigma. The degree of cross pollination range from 50% to 60%. It behaves like rape (Brassica napus L.), and the breeding techniques used for rape, can also be applied to coriander.
Uses and Benefits of coriander
All plant parts are edible, but traditionally fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts mostly used in cooking.
• The fresh leaves are an ingredient for chutneys and salads in many Asian foods.
• The aromatic fruits of coriander whole or ground form used as a spice for curries, baked goods and sauces, containing phytochemicals which may thwart the food of being decayed.
• Coriander have some health benefits. In some parts of Europe, it is referred to as an “antidiabetic” plant. Coriander seeds and fresh leaves help in digestion process, due to anti-oxidant properties which trigger healthy functioning of the liver and bowel movements.
• Coriander used by some countries for extracting essential oil and fatty oil which is prepared by steam distillation of mature, dried fruits. Major quantity of essential oil produce in Russia.
• Medically Coriander seeds is quite effective due to anti-bacterial properties in curing hair loss and skin diseases.
The following prospects which will lead to improved production and expansion in the industry.
• Breeding in coriander should be done to develop varieties which are resistant against diseases like bacterial blight, and resistance to drought stress.
• The varieties should be develop with high fatty oil and essential oil contents in seeds.
• There is need to adopt modern means of crop improvement for cultivation and production.
• Poor seed setting considered the major constraint.
• Light soil in which coriander is disposed to weeding, so soil should be loamy to moderately heavy.
The authors is associated with University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org