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a genus of plants of the family Labiatae. They are perennial herbs or subshrubs. The leaves are tomentose, and the flowers are small and in spikes. The genus has six species, which are native to the Mediterranean region. The plants are grown as annuals in Southern and Central Europe, the United States, and the People’s Republic of China. In the USSR, one species—sweet marjoram (Majorana hortensis)—is cultivated in the Ukraine, the Lithuanian SSR, the central and southern parts of the RSFSR, and Middle Asia. This species has a branching stem that is 20-50 cm high. The leaves are used raw or dried as a seasoning for various dishes and to add aroma to vinegar and tea. An essential oil is obtained from the leaves and flowers. Marjoram yields a significant amount of nectar and is used medicinally. It is cultivated in fertile coarse soils by transplantation. The yield is 40-50 centners of green mass per hectare. The genus Majorana is sometimes included in the genus Origanum.