The cultivation of aromatic plants started in Cyprus in 1990. The plants are offered in a fresh or dry form, but can also be distilled for essential oils.
Cyprus production of aromatic plants is considered to be of special quality, due to the warm climate and the clear water available in the island. Demand is increasing in export markets, with basil, in particular, showing great potential.
Basil is a versatile herb having different uses in various types of food. Whilst it has a special affinity with tomatoes and tomato-based dishes.
Basil, Bay, Rosemary, Dictamnus, Thyme, Fennel, Marjoram, Mint, Capparis, Lavender, Hyssop, Sideritis, Rosa Damascena, Salvia, Origanum, Balm, Tarragon, Mentha and Lemon Verbena.
Herbs: All year round
The healthy properties of this crop make it the richest in protein of any green vegetable. It boasts a high vitamin A and C content and contains high quantities of iron and calcium.
European awareness of the vegetable was non-existent until the Middle Ages, although the plant was known hundreds of years ago in China.
It can be cooked by boiling in the traditional way, but the development of nouvelle cuisine and salads has added a new dimension to this vegetable.
Cyprus is a major producer with volume shipments to the USA.
Vitoflay, Local Curly
Spinach: October to May
Parsley contains three times more vitamin C per ounce than an orange, twice as much vitamin A as a carrot and double the iron of spinach.
It is one of the civilisation’s oldest vegetables and was known in ancient Cyprus and Greece for its medicinal properties.
Nowadays, apart from a welcome garnish to both meats and salads, it is also served to subdue strong garlic odours.
Local and English Curly, Plane, Dark Green Italian
Parsley: All year round
This herb is very similar to mentha, and is of great importance as a garnish in salads and food.
It is the key ingredient in the famous mint sauce and it can be used dry for making mint tea. Increasing quantities are exported to the United Kingdom and Norway.
Mint: February to November
This is a crop which Cyprus is developing as part of its increasing range of fruit and vegetables based on the prevailing microclimates.
Some crops are already being grown in limited quantities, particularly for Asian customers in the United Kingdom and specialised retailers. To date, these have usually been grown on a contract basis. As more land becomes available, there are indications that producers will make chillies part of their overall cropping pattern with similarly produced lines, such as capsicums.
Red and Green, Kenya, Jamaican and Local Varieties
Chillies: June to November
This herb, similar to parsley, is used as a garnish for salads, potatoes and meat.
Demand is increasing year on year as consumers get to enjoy the benefits of this crop. It is not surprising, therefore, that coriander has built up a regular export trade which is fast developing.
Local Varieties, Tamasos
Coriander: All year round
This herb, similar to fennel, is used increasingly as a garnish for salads.
Production of dill can be found all over Cyprus, and exports are showing a steady increase, reflecting the developing demand situation, particularly in the UK.
Dill: November to March
Methi, often called Fenugreek, is one of the oldest medicinal plants in existence and is still considered very useful in herbal practice.
Methi tea, made from the seeds, is used as a gargle for sore throats and, also, for fevers.
Trigonella Foenum Graecum
Methi: Octomber to April
Molochia belongs to the Tiliaceae family and is a native of East India and North Australia.
It is used mainly by Asian and Middle Eastern nationalities as a garnish in soups (the leaves are dried and chopped), as well as a boiled vegetable served with meat or rice.
Molochia: June to November
Although Okra owes its origins to Africa, it is now available worldwide.
A specialised crop, related to the cotton family of plants, okra is becoming increasingly popular in export markets and Cyprus has achieved remarkable success in its production.
Known also as "ladies’ fingers" and "gumbo" (which is a good source of fibre), the quality produced by specialist growers in Cyprus has allowed the island to develop its sales on markets abroad.
Okra: May to November
Rocket is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains sulphur, iron, iodine and phosphorus. It is widely used in salads.
Rocket: December to May