Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin for "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea". The plant is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word ?????, meaning "flower".Rosmarinus officinalis is one of 2-4 species in the genus Rosmarinus'.
The other species most often recognized is the closely related, Rosmarinus eriocalyx, of the Maghreb of Africa and Iberia. The genus was named by the 18th-century naturalist and founding taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus.Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub that has leaves similar to hemlock needles.
The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair.
The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue.Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses. The plant is said to improve the memory. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings and roast meats.
Since it is attractive and drought tolerant, rosemary is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and for xeriscape landscaping, especially in regions of Mediterranean climate. It is considered easy to grow and pest-resistant. Rosemary can grow quite large and retain attractiveness for many years, can be pruned into formal shapes and low hedges, and has been used for topiary.
It is easily grown in pots. The groundcover cultivars spread widely, with a dense and durable texture.Rosemary grows on friable loam soil with good drainage in an open, sunny position. It will not withstand waterlogging and some varieties are susceptible to frost.
It grows best in neutral to alkaline conditions (pH 7–7.8) with average fertility. It can be propagated from an existing plant by clipping a shoot (from a soft new growth) 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long, stripping a few leaves from the bottom, and planting it directly into soil.The leaves, both fresh and dried, are used in traditional Italian cuisine.
They have a bitter, astringent taste and are highly aromatic, which complements a wide variety of foods. Herbal tea can be made from the leaves. When burnt, they give off a mustard-like smell and a smell similar to burning wood, which can be used to flavor foods while barbecuing. Rosemary oil is used for purposes of fragrant bodily perfumes or to emit an aroma into a room. It is also burnt as incense, and used in shampoos and cleaning products.