What is the Difference Between a Herb and a Spice?
Spices and herbs are only slightly different. An herb is generally defined as the leaf of a plant when used in cooking, but any other part of the plant, often dried, can be a spice. Spices can be the buds (cloves), bark (cinnamon), roots (ginger), berries (peppercorns), aromatic seeds (cumin), and even the stigma of a flower (saffron). Many of the aromatic seeds known as spices are actually gathered from plants when they have finished flowering. A familiar example would be coriander, with the leaves being referred to as an herb, and the dried seeds as a spice. When referring to the stem and roots of coriander, which are used in cooking, and to onions, garlic and the bulb of fennel, these parts of these plants tend to be classified along with herbs, as they are often used fresh and applied in a similar way to cooking.