categoryZShrubs Shrubs List 
categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 
categoryZCrops Crops List 

ROSEMARY

SEA DEW

Rosmarinus officinalis

Mint / Dead-Nettle [Lamiaceae]

month8mar month8march month8apr month8april month8may

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Evergreen
category
category8Crops
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8azure
 
inner
inner8blue
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2 petalsZ5
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8scent
scent
toxicity
toxicityZlowish
 
rarity
rarityZuncommon
 

14th May 2014, a garden, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
An erect shrub which grows to 2m, leaves used as a herb in cooking.


19th May 2014, Continental PH garden, Preston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are linear, a little like those of Yew. Flowers azure-blue to lilac.


14th May 2014, a garden, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The underside of the leaves is greyish with very short matted hair.


19th May 2014, Continental PH garden, Preston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are strongly zygomorphic, 10-15mm long but quite narrow. The lower lip is largest with two side-wings and two narrower arm-like side-lobes. The upper lip is narrow and long with two short lobes sticking up like rabbits ears.


19th May 2014, Continental PH garden, Preston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Coming from deep within are two long, prominent stamens curved over at the top, each bearing an anther. Several as yet un-opened flower buds with four beetroot-coloured sepals look like the head of a Philips screwdriver. The sepals are heavily dusted with a whitish powder looking like ice.


14th May 2014, a garden, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Apart from the colour and patterns the flower is quite similar to that of some orchids, such as Heath Spotted Orchid.


14th May 2014, a garden, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are needle-like and glossy dark-green on the top surface.


14th May 2014, a garden, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are in-rolled on the sides obscuring part of the hoary under-surface.


14th May 2014, a garden, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The in-rolled edges.


19th May 2014, Continental PH garden, Preston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Several impressions in the white hoary hairs lie parallel to the long edges on the undersides of the leaves.


19th May 2014, Continental PH garden, Preston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves have a slight indented mid-rib running the length. The grainy texture of the upper surface shows through by transmitted light.


Slight resemblance to : Garden Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) which belongs to the same Mint & Dead Nettle Family (Lamiaceae) and also has azure-blue coloured flowers (but in a long narrow flowering spike) and narrow leaves, but which smells of lavender (as used as a perfume in some soaps) rather than of rosemary (which smells of Italian cooking).

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) [a plant with similar name which belongs to a totally different Family, that of Heather (Ericaceae)].

Rosemary is the only plant in the Rosemarinus genus that occurs naturalised in the UK.

DITERPENOIDS & TERPENOIDS

The evergreen leaves are used as flavouring in cooking, especially in Italian dishes, and in stuffings. They have a somewhat bitter and astringent taste and are strongly aromatic, containing Caffeic Acid, Caffeic Acid, Ursolic Acid, Betulinic Acid and two characteristic diterpenoids Rosemanol and RosmariridiPhenol.


The essential oil also contains several aromatic Terpenoids, which in order of concentration are (+)-α-Pinene, Eucalyptol (aka 1,8-Cineole), Camphor, (+)-Verbenone, Borneol and (+)-Bornyl Acetate which taken together constitute 80% of the total and represent the major aroma compounds within the essential oil derived from the flowers themselves.


  Rosmarinus officinalis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒   

Distribution

 BSBI maps
genus8Rosmarinus
Rosmarinus
(Rosemary)

ROSEMARY

SEA DEW

Rosmarinus officinalis

Mint / Dead-Nettle [Lamiaceae]