Rosemary PLANT PORTRAIT

Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary is an evergreen and highly aromatic shrub. Native to the Mediterranean coast it has small pale mauve-blue (...

Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary is an evergreen and highly aromatic shrub. Native to the Mediterranean coast it has small pale mauve-blue (occasionally white or pink) flowers. Officinalis means ‘of the shop (usually the apothecary or herbalist’s) and is used for many other plants grown for medicinal purposes, whether of actual or legendary value. The ancient Greeks and the Romans believed rosemary could improve the memory and quicken the mind and therefore wove it into their hair (particularly students who were studying for examinations). The Greeks burnt it as incense, and both they and the Romans used it in public and private festivities, as well as religious ceremonies.

Rosemary has strong legendary links with Christianity. In Spain it is still revered as the bush that sheltered the Virgin Mary when she fled to Egypt. Tradition tells how the flowers changed from white to varying shades of blue when she threw her cloak over it to dry. From 800-814 AD, during the reign of Charlemagne rosemary became a popular flower at weddings in Europe and was associated with fidelity, love and happy memories. Sprigs or small branches (often gilded) were carried by members of the wedding party and the bride wore it as a garland (a custom that can still be seen today). Rosemary’s disinfectant and antiseptic properties have also been valued in the past (as they are today). It is also widely used as a culinary herb in cooking.




Prostrate rosemary cascading over rocks like a waterfall

early winter view of rosemary flowering after the first rains

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Plant Information 6412390985128742596

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