Rosmarinus officinalis - L.
Common Name Rosemary
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards Products containing rosemary oil may cause erythema (redness) of the skin. Caution needed if allergies. Reportedly used as an abortifacient in large quantities but can lead to deep coma, spasm and vomiting and even death [301].
Habitats Dry scrub and rocky places, especially near the sea[50, 132].
Range S. Europe to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Bloom Color: Blue. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Late spring, Late winter, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.

Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rosmarinus officinalis is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Rosmarinus officinalis subsp. laxiflorus (Noë ex Lange) Nyman

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Ground Cover; Hedge; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Young shoots, leaves and flowers - raw or cooked. The leaves have a very strong flavour that is bitter and somewhat resinous[238], the flowers are somewhat milder. They are used in small quantities as a flavouring in soups and stews, with vegetables such as peas and spinach, and with sweet dishes such as biscuits cakes, jams and jellies[1, 2, 9, 15, 27, 52, 244]. They can be used fresh or dried[21].The leaves have a tough texture and so should either be used very finely chopped, or in sprigs that can be removed after cooking[238]. A fragrant tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[21, 183]. It is said to be especially nice when mixed with tansy[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Appetizer;  Aromatherapy;  Aromatic;  Astringent;  Cardiac;  Carminative;  
Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Emmenagogue;  Nervine;  Ophthalmic;  Stimulant;  Stomachic;  

Rosemary is commonly grown in the herb garden as a domestic remedy, used especially as a tonic and pick-me-up when feeling depressed, mentally tired, nervous etc[238]. Research has shown that the plant is rich in volatile oils, flavanoids and phenolic acids, which are strongly antiseptic and anti-inflammatory[238]. Rosmarinic acid has potential in the treatment of toxic shock syndrome, whilst the flavonoid diosmin is reputedly more effective than rutin in reducing capillary fragility[238]. Rosmarol, an extract from the leaves, has shown remarkably high antioxidant activity[218]. The whole plant is antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, cardiac, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[4, 21, 89, 165, 218]. An infusion of the flowering stems made in a closed container to prevent the steam from escaping is effective in treating headaches, colic, colds and nervous diseases[4]. A distilled water from the flowers is used as an eyewash[7]. The leaves can be harvested in the spring or summer and used fresh, they can also be dried for later use[7]. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women since in excess it can cause an abortion[238]. An essential oil distilled from the stems and leaves is often used medicinally, that distilled from the flowering tops is superior but not often available[4]. The oil is applied externally as a rubefacient, added to liniments, rubbed into the temples to treat headaches and used internally as a stomachic and nervine[4]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Stimulant'[210]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary for rheumatism, dyspeptic complaints, loss of appetite, blood pressure problems (see [302] for critics of commission E).


Other Uses
Dye;  Essential;  Hair;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Incense;  Repellent.

The growing plant is said to repel insects from neighbouring plants[14, 18, 89, 201]. Branches or sachets of the leaves are often placed in clothes cupboards to keep moths away[148]. An infusion of the dried plant (both leaves and flowers) is used in shampoos[4, 14, 201]. When combined with borax and used cold, it is one of the best hair washes known and is effective against dandruff[4]. An essential oil is obtained from the leaves and flowering stems[11, 57, 89, 171]. One kilo of oil is obtained from 200 kilos of flowering stems[4]. The oil is used in perfumery, soaps, medicinally etc[11, 57, 89, 171]. It is often added to hair lotions and is said to prevent premature baldness[4]. The leaves are burnt as an incense, fumigant and disinfectant[61, 244]. The cultivar 'Prostratus' can be used as a ground cover in a sunny position[188]. This cultivar is the least hardy form of the species[188]. The plant can be grown as a hedge, it is fairly resistant to maritime exposure[49, 75], though when this is coupled with very cold weather the plants can suffer severely[11]. Any trimming is best carried out after the plant has flowered[188]. The cultivar 'Miss Jessopp's Upright' is particularly suitable for hedging[188]. 'Fastigiatus' is also very suitable[K]. A yellow-green dye is obtained from the leaves and flowers[168].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Seashore. Prefers a hot sunny position and a slightly alkaline light dry soil[11, 14, 27, 37]. Dislikes very heavy soils[11]. Intolerant of excessive winter wet[200]. Likes a stony calcareous soil[200]. Plants are smaller when grown on chalky soils, but are more fragrant[4]. Fairly tolerant of maritime exposure[49, 75] and very tolerant of salt spray[244]. Succeeds in a hot dry position[200]. Hardy to between -10 and -15°c[184], but plants can be damaged or killed in severe winters, old plants are the most susceptible[11]. Rosemary is a polymorphic species that is commonly grown in the ornamental and herb gardens, there are many named varieties[183, 238]. Traditionally, the plant is a symbol of friendship and fidelity and a wreath of it would be worn by a bride to denote love and loyalty[244]. It was also carried at religious ceremonies and funerals in the belief that its pungent scent would ward of disease and evil spirits[244]. The whole plant is highly aromatic[245]. The cultivar 'Corsican Blue' is more aromatic than the type[245]. Very tolerant of pruning, plants can regenerate from old wood[202]. A good bee plant, producing pollen early in the year[7, 24, 89]. A good companion for most plants, including cabbages, beans, carrots and sage[14, 18, 54, 201]. Grows badly with potatoes[201]. Special Features: Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame or greenhouse. Germination can be slow. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 18 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame or shady border[4]. Very easy, they usually root within 3 weeks[K]. It is best to give the plants some protection for their first winter and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of young shoots in spring in a frame[15]. They usually root well within 3 weeks, prick them out into individual pots and plant them out during the summer. Layering in summer[1].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Readers comment
david nicholls   Thu Oct 4 2007
According to Deni Bown (the same Encyclopedia quoted here)excess of R. causes abortion and convulsions, I couldn't see this mentioned anywhere, it may be there. A few days ago I saw someone on the food channel add it to fruit juice, seems like a good idea, it seems fine added to water on its own. Have a good day, keep up the good work pff..
   Sun Mar 16 2008
Anna Poh   Mon Nov 3 2008
May i the supporting article or paper for the medicinal claim as stated below: strongly antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. thanks
dina gad   Sun Jan 18 2009
this page is very important and interesting please, I want to know how i can germinate seeds of Rosmarinus officinalis
david   Sun Jan 18 2009
Dina, see under propagation above
Sarah   Thu Sep 3 2009
What is the diameter of growth on prostatus?
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Subject : Rosmarinus officinalis  

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