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Herb Identification – Identifying Fresh Herbs – Free Gardening Printable

This visual guide to herb identification makes identifying fresh herbs a snap. 

How well do you know the names of the fresh herbs? Many herbs look quite similar, so it’s easy to be confused. 

I can’t tell you how many times I have come back from a shopping trip with a bunch of cilantro, thinking that I had picked up flat leaf parsley.  These two herbs may look similar but have a very different taste when used in recipes, so it pays to know what you are buying.

Another herb that has a look alike cousin is oregano.  Look at the marjoram leaves in the picture above. Can you see how easily it would be to get confused between the two?

Read on for a refresher course in identifying herbs. You’ll be a herb master in no time!

Bunches of fresh herbs on a cutting board.

Herb identification – Do you know your herbs?

Most people know the names of a few fresh herbs that are most commonly used in recipes.  Basil and rosemary have quite a distinctive look so it’s easy to remember what they are.


This handy chart makes Herb Identification a snap. #herbidentification #kitchenherbs

However, many other herbs have a very similar leaf structure, especially if the plant is not too developed. This can make it hard to identify the plant you have in front of you.bottles with herbs - herb identificastion

Let’s make it easier for you with some photos of herbs with their names. I’ve also added links to pages with growing tips if you decide you would like to grow them at home.

Herb gardening information

I am in the process of writing several articles that give information on how to grow and use the various herbs in the photo above above.  Be sure to check back often to see more posts.

Just click on any of the links below to find out more about that fresh herb.

Herb identification - Basil PlantBasil Bay leaves can be grown in your gardenBay Laurel How to grow chervilChervil
Herb identification -Fresh ChivesChives Growing ccilantroCilantro Fresh Dill plantDill
Oregano PlantOregano Rosemary PlantRosemary Sage herbSage
Tarragon plantTarragon Thyme plantThyme Growing WheatgrassWheatgrass

If you have always used dried herbs and spices then you are probably lost when it comes to trying to identifying fresh herbs. 

The handy herb identification chart at the top of the page will come come in handy.  I have included the herbs that most cooks may come in contact with.

Guide to identifying herbs

Armed with this handy chart, you’ll soon be an expert at guessing the names of herbs by sight.  The next step will be learning about the smell of different herbs. I find that even more interesting.

We’ve all seen those little bubble packs of fresh herbs at the grocery store, but did you know that you can easily grow herbs yourself?  I’ve written a complete guide that will give you all the information you need in one place. Be sure to check out my guide to growing herbs.

I hope you enjoy using this convenient herb identification chart. I  would suggest that you pin it to Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

How to store herbs to use later

Fresh herbs will go bad quickly, so it is useful to know how to store and preserve them for later use.  You can freeze herbs whole or freeze them in olive oil or water in single serving uses.hers in water and oil

Making vinegar or herb butter is also a way to use up extra herbs at the end of the growing season. Check out this post for information on lots of different ways to preserve herbs.

How long will dried herbs last?

Dried herbs lose a lot of their aromatic properties as soon as the heat hits them.  This also means that they lose a lot of their flavor.  

However, dried herbs will last for quite a long time.  1 – 3 years is not uncommon, although much of the flavor will be gone by that time.

Find out more about storing dried herbs here.

Pin the herb identification chart.

If you would like a reminder of this chart for identifying herbs, just pin this image to one of your gardening board on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Names of common culinary herbs - herb identification

For more identification, be sure to check out my list of perennial herbs and watch the video at the top of this page for photos and names of more herbs.

Yield: 1 printable chart

Herb Identification Chart Printable

Common kitchen herbs

This handy herb identification chart will take the guess work out of identifying herbs. Print it out and keep it in your gardening journal for easy access.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Glossy photo paper or heavy card stock


  • Deskjet Printer


  1. Add heavy card stock or glossy photo paper to your printer.
  2. Be sure to set the printer to portrait and "fit to page."
  3. Print out the herb identification chart and keep with your gardening journal.This handy chart makes Herb Identification a snap. #herbidentification #kitchenherbs

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Chris Blatch

Monday 6th of January 2020

We recentl purchases a home that has a few herbs in the neglected garden. I have a plant that resembles rosemary, but it smells like maple syrup? any ideas on what it is and its uses?

Carol Speake

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

I have not heard of a herb which has the smell of maple syrup.

john Shrum

Monday 21st of October 2019

Hello, might you know of a Internet site that includes pictures of the herbs and covers some of the lesser known genus such as Rumez and Plantago?

Carol Speake

Thursday 24th of October 2019

I don't know of a site like this but searching on Google might give you the info you need.

Judy Kaszas

Tuesday 10th of September 2019

I have two plants that I believe are herbs, but cannot find out what they are. Can anyone there tell me if I send a photo of them.


Sunday 15th of September 2019

Hi Judy. I sent you an email with instructions for photos.

ytzhak weiner

Monday 24th of December 2018

i got it & i do not now to recognize what herb is it


Monday 24th of December 2018

Hi Ytzhak. It looks like some form of four leaf clover or fern, not a herb, but perhaps a reader might know. Carol

Wanda Storie

Wednesday 14th of November 2018

Can you tell me what plant this is?


Thursday 15th of November 2018

They look a bit like basil seedlings.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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