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Rosmarinus officinalis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Gardens, parks, rocky places, scrub, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Blue, 2 petals
Clusters of 2-lipped flowers, usually blue but can also be pink, purple or white.
Smooth, 4-parted nutlet. 2mm in length. The seeds mature from August to October.
A woody perennial with needle like leaves and inrolled margins. Most wild specimens found in the UK are around the area of London.
The leaves are strongly fragrant.
Other Names:
Old Man, Rose of the Sea, Sea Dew, Southernwood.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Rosmarinus officinalis, also known as "Rosemary", is a species of evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a woody perennial herb that can grow up to 4-6 ft tall and wide. The leaves are needle-like and are green on top and white on the bottom. The flowers are small, blue, pink or white and appear in clusters at the tips of the branches, usually blooming in spring to early summer. It prefers well-drained, sandy soil and full sun. It is widely used in cooking as a spice and herb and also used in traditional medicine and cosmetics. It is also used as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes, it is known for its fragrant, needle-like leaves, and blue flowers. It is drought-tolerant and can be pruned to maintain a desired shape and size.


The Rosemary plant, scientifically known as Rosmarinus officinalis, is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is a popular herb in Mediterranean cuisine and is widely cultivated for its aromatic leaves, which are commonly used as a seasoning in cooking.

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region, but it is now grown in many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and North America. The plant grows up to 1.5 meters tall and has woody stems with small, needle-like leaves that are green on top and silver-grey underneath.

Rosemary has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for centuries. Its leaves are rich in essential oils that contain various bioactive compounds such as rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and carnosol. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may provide several health benefits.

One of the most common uses of rosemary is as a culinary herb. Its leaves have a slightly bitter, pungent, and camphor-like flavor that makes it a popular seasoning for meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables. It is also used to flavor soups, stews, sauces, and dressings.

Apart from its culinary uses, rosemary has several health benefits. Its essential oil is used in aromatherapy to improve memory, concentration, and mental clarity. It may also help relieve stress and anxiety.

Rosemary has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It may also have antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it effective against certain infections.

Rosemary may also help improve digestion and relieve digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, and indigestion. Its essential oil may help stimulate the production of bile, which aids in the digestion of fats.

There are several ways to use the Rosemary plant, beyond just cooking and aromatherapy. Here are some additional uses:

  1. Hair care: Rosemary oil is often used as a natural remedy to promote hair growth and improve hair health. It may help stimulate blood flow to the scalp and improve hair follicle function.

  2. Skincare: Rosemary essential oil is a popular ingredient in natural skincare products due to its antioxidant properties. It may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture, and soothe irritation.

  3. Pest control: The strong aroma of Rosemary is effective in repelling certain pests, such as mosquitoes and moths. Placing Rosemary leaves around your home or garden can help keep these pests at bay.

  4. Natural cleaning: The antibacterial and antifungal properties of Rosemary make it a useful ingredient in natural cleaning solutions. It can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces, as well as to remove odors from the air.

  5. Ornamental purposes: Rosemary's attractive foliage and fragrant flowers make it a popular choice for ornamental gardening. It can be grown in pots or in the ground, and its compact size makes it ideal for small gardens and containers.

When growing Rosemary, it is important to provide it with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. It is a drought-tolerant plant that prefers to be on the drier side, so be careful not to overwater it. Pruning the plant regularly can help promote bushier growth and prevent it from becoming too leggy.

Here are some additional interesting facts about the Rosemary plant:

  1. Name origins: The name "Rosemary" is derived from the Latin words "ros" meaning "dew" and "marinus" meaning "sea", which translates to "dew of the sea." This name reflects the plant's natural habitat along the Mediterranean coast, where it is often bathed in sea mist.

  2. Ancient symbolism: Rosemary has been used in many ancient cultures as a symbol of love, friendship, and remembrance. In ancient Greece, it was used to symbolize loyalty and was often used in wedding ceremonies. In the Middle Ages, it was used to ward off evil spirits and was often carried by brides as a symbol of love and fidelity.

  3. Culinary uses: Rosemary is a popular ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, particularly those from Italy and Greece. It pairs well with roasted meats, potatoes, and vegetables, and is often used to flavor olive oil and vinegar.

  4. Medicinal uses: In traditional medicine, Rosemary has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, respiratory infections, and menstrual cramps. It is also used as a natural remedy for headaches, muscle pain, and fatigue.

  5. Cultural significance: In many cultures, Rosemary is considered a symbol of remembrance and is often used at funerals and memorials. In Australia and New Zealand, it is worn on ANZAC Day to honor fallen soldiers.

In addition to its cultural significance, Rosemary is a fascinating plant with many practical uses. Whether you are a home cook, gardener, or natural health enthusiast, there are many ways to incorporate Rosemary into your life and benefit from its many properties.

Rosemary is an evergreen perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. Its Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means "dew of the sea," reflecting its natural habitat near the coast. The plant has needle-like leaves that are aromatic and are commonly used as a seasoning in Mediterranean cuisine.

Beyond its culinary uses, Rosemary has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It contains several bioactive compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for a range of health concerns. Rosemary oil is often used topically to promote hair growth, improve skin health, and soothe muscle pain.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Rosemary has cultural significance in many parts of the world. It has been used as a symbol of love, remembrance, and loyalty in various cultures throughout history. In modern times, it is often worn on ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand to honor fallen soldiers.

Growing Rosemary is relatively easy, and it can be grown in pots or in the ground. It prefers well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight, and it is a drought-tolerant plant that doesn't require much water. Pruning the plant regularly can help promote bushier growth and prevent it from becoming too leggy.

In conclusion, Rosemary is a versatile plant with many practical and cultural uses. Whether you are a home cook, gardener, or natural health enthusiast, there are many ways to incorporate Rosemary into your life and benefit from its many properties.


Rosemary filmed at Grange-over-sands Promenade, Cumbria on the 16th April 2023.


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