Bright green leaves on foot-tall stems look similar to flat-leafed parsley. Cilantro refers to the leaves; the seeds are called coriander.
BEST CULINARY VARIETIES: Grow types that are slow to bolt (go to seed), which are labeled as such or sold as a variety called 'Slow-Bolt'.
GROWING TIP: Cilantro grows best in cool weather. Plant in early spring after last frost (autumn in the low desert). If practical, start from seed; cilantro has a taproot and transplants poorly. Plant in succession every few weeks through summer. Once it goes to seed, the flavor changes.
HARVEST TIP: Cut off leaves as needed. Harvest the entire plant before it starts to flower.
USES: Beans, curries, fish, lamb, Mexican dishes, pork, poultry, salads, salsas, sauces, shellfish, and stir-fries.