Coriander, also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and northern Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft plant growing to 50 cm tall.
The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods (such as chutneys and salads); in Chinese and Thai dishes; in Mexican cooking, particularly in salsa and guacamole and as a garnish; and in salads in Russia and other CIS countries. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on Indian dishes such as dal. As heat diminishes their flavour, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavour diminishes. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen.
All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking.