Coriandrum diversifolium Gilib.; Coriandrum globosum Salisb.; Coriandrum majus Gouan Notes (Coriander):
And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
Exodus 16:31 (KJV)
Now the house of Israel called its name manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
Exodus 16:31 (RSV)
And the house of Israel began to call its name "manna." And it was like coriander seed, and its taste was like that of flatcakes with honey.
Exodus 16:31 (RSV)
All three versions call it coriander, which generally tranquilizes me into believing that this is a reasonably certain biblical citation. But Zohary questions it for linguistic, culinary, and ecological reasons. Coriander does not occur in the desert (ZOH) (although I have seen it in irrigated deserts in Egypt (JAD)). And Zohary rightly comments that its green to brown seeds are not whitish. However, I have seen some that looked ivory colored, not too far from cream. He questions the KJV, RSV, and NWT translations of gad as coriander. And, the Arabic gidda, cognate with gad, is a white Artemisia, not a greenish coriander. Thus, while leaving coriander in his biblical book as will I, Zohary doubts that it is intended in the quoted passages. AH2 gives two standardized common names for this species: cilantro for the leaves and coriander for the seed. This will be confusing in places like Peru where this is the temperate species used in the Andes, whereas tropical Eryngium foetidum, of the same family, bears the name cilantro in the lowlands. AH2 gives culantro as the standardized common name for Eryngium foetidum (AH2). I suspect that both will serve well and similarly for the many indications listed below. Coriander was used in love potions, its use as an aphrodisiac being mentioned in The Thousand and One Nights (BIB).
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