This aromatic plant originated in the Mediterranean area. The upright variety was valued historically for its beneficial properties and is still highly regarded today. In one legend, rosemary is used to waken Sleeping Beauty; in another, fairies take the form of snakes and lie among the rosemary. A popular saying is, 'rosemary for remembrance.'
This ash-colored evergreen shrub has a pungent, pinelike fragrance. It has scaly bark and opposite, narrow, leathery leaves, which are thick and dark green on the top and downy white underneath. Prominent veins run down the middle of the leaves and the margins roll down. The pale blue flowers are about 1/2 inch long and grow in short axillary racemes. The fruit is a very small, spherical nutlet.
Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.
The aromatic oil is added to soaps, creams, lotions, perfumes, and toilet waters. The leaves are used in sachets and potpourris as well as in herbal baths, facial steams, hair rinses, and dyes. Dried or fresh leaves may be used to flavor poultry, fish, lamb, beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, potatoes, vinegars, and herbal butters. Rosemary has attractive flowers and is grown for ornamental use in the landscape. The prostrate plant is attractive trailing down over a wall or used for ground cover. It also is used in container gardening. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.
Slow growing from seed, our plants did not reach significant size the first season. They might have bloomed if we had brought them indoors.