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Coriandrum sativum. Coriander. Near Hama, Syria. Apiaceae

"The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey." Exodus 16:31.

"The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin." Numbers 11: 7.

The exact nature of manna remains unknown. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that it was simply a divine provision, miraculously given. Or, as some Bible scholars have suggested, it may have been t he exudate of a desert plant. Looking like "resin" could support that view. More problematical is the relationship between the appearance of manna and the appearance of coriander seed, actually the fruit of the plant. Coriander, at least the types now grown, have brown rather than white fruits.

Coriander is widely grown in the Middle East and highly valued as a spice in Arab cooking. The "seed" is also used in the United States as a ground spice. More familiar, however, are the leaves of the coriander plant which are known as cilantro. Cilantro is an ingredient of salsa and other Spanish and Mexican dishes.

Coriandrum sativum. Coriander. Near Hama, Syria. Apiaceae Coriandrum sativum. Coriander. Near Hama, Syria. Apiaceae

(Below)Technically, these are the fruits, not the seeds, of coriander. The leaves and young stems of coriander are cilantro, often used in Mexican dishes such as salsa.

Coriandrum sativum. Coriander. Apiaceae