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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.)


pharmaceuticalFolia Rosmarini
AlbanianRozmarinë, Esmerinë
Amharicአዜሞሪና, የጥብስ ቅመም
Azemorina, Yatbs qmam
Arabicإكليل الجبل
إِكْلِيل الْجَبَل
Ikleel al-Jabal, Iklil al-Jabal
Aramaicܠܝܒܘܢܛܝܣ, ܩܟܪܘܣ
Libuntish, Qakrus
Khngooni, Xnkuni
CatalanRomaní, Romer
迷迭香 [màih diht hēung]
Maih diht heung
迷迭香 [mí dié xiāng]
Mi die xiang, Mi tieh hsiang
CzechRozmarýna, Rozmarýna lékařská, Rozmarýn lékařský
EnglishOld Man
EstonianHarilik rosmariin, Rosmariin
Farsiاکلیل کوهی, رزماری
Eklil kuhi, Rozmari
FrenchRomarin, Rosmarin encens, Rosmarin, Ecensier
GaelicRòs, Ròs Mhuire
GalicianRomeiro, Romeu
GreekΔεντρολίβανο, Δενδρολίβανο, Ροζμαρί
Dentrolivano, Dendrolivano, Rozmari
IcelandicRósmarín, Sædögg
ItalianRamerino, Rosmarino
Japaneseローズマリ, マンネンロウ
Rozumari, Mannenrō, Mannenro
Korean로즈마리, 로즈메리
Rojumari, Rojumeri
Laoໂຣສ໌ແມຣິ, ໂຣສແມຣີ່
Romaeri, Rosmaeri
LatinRos marinum
LithuanianRozmarinas, Kvapusis rozmarinas
ProvençalRoumanieou, Roumanin
SerbianРузмарин, Ружмарин
Ruzmarin, Ružmarin
Sinhalaරොස්මෙරි, රෝස්මේරි
SlovakRozmarín lekársky, Rozmarín
SpanishRomero, Rosmario
TagalogDumero, Romero
TurkishBiberiye, Hasalban, Kuşdili
UkrainianРозмарин, Розмарин справжній
Rozmaryn, Rozmaryn spravzhni
VietnameseLá hương thảo
La huong thao
WelshRhos Mair, Rhosmari
Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary needles
Rosemary, sterile shoot
Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary flowers
Flowering rosemary
Used plant part

The small needle-like leaves.

Plant family

Lamiaceae (mint family).

Sensory quality

Strongly aromatic (reminiscent to camphor or eucalyptus), resinous and slightly bitter.

Main constit­uents

The leaves contain about 1 to 2.5% essential oil. Therein, 1,8-cineol (30%), camphor (15 to 25%), borneol (16 to 20%), bornyl acetate (max. 7%), α-pinene (max. 25%) and others contribute to the complex taste. On the tannin content see hyssop and on bitterness in general see zedoary.


Mediterranean. Rosemary was one of the plants that, according to the Capitulare de villis, was grown in medieval monasteries (see lovage). However, its poor resistance to freezes limited its popularity, especially in regions north of the Alps. Freeze-tolerant rosemary cultivars (e. g., Arp) are a relatively new invention.

Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary plant
Rosemary plant

Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary flowers
Rosemary (flowering branch)

Today, rose­mary is cultivated in nearly all countries around the Medi­terranean Sea, further­more in England, the US and México.


In Latin tongue, the plant was called rosmarinus; most sources interpret this as made from ros dew (akin to Sanskrit rasa [रस] sap, juice) and marinus belonging to the sea (from Latin mare sea, derived from the Proto-Indo–European root MORI water; lake; cf. marine and mermaid).

Truly, rosemary often grows at low altitude and therefore near the sea. It does, however, not typically populate the coast, where the spray of sea water might motivate the name dew of the sea. Possibly, the name refers not to the habitat but to the sea-blue flowers of rosemary. It has been argued that rosmarinus itself is a product of folk etymology. Possible candidates for the original name are Greek rhops [ῥώψ] shrub and myron [μύρον] balm, which make a good name for the aromatic plant, but pose more linguistic problems (see also nutmeg for the etymology of myron). Lastly, the Greek name of sumac, rhous [ῥοῦς], is sometimes set into relation with rosmarinus.

Most European languages have names for rosemary that still much resemble the original Latin rosmarinus: German Rosmarin, Finnish rosmariini, Italian ramerino, Spanish romero, Basque erromero, Albanian rozmarinë, Serbo-Croatian ružmarin [рузмарин], Bulgarian rozmarin [розмарин] and Greek rozmari [ροζμαρί]. In Greek, however, it is more common to call rosemary dendrolivano [δεντρολίβανο], which literally mean incense tree: livani [λιβάνι] incense und dendro [δέντρο] tree. See also juniper for the linguistic affiliation of the latter.

Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary shrub
Sterile rosemary shrub
Rosmarinus officinalis: Flowering rosemary branch
Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary flowers
Rosemary flowers

Arabic al-iklil al-jabal [الإكليل الجبل] and Persian eklil kuhi [اکلیل کوهی] both mean crown of the moun­tain, but I cannot get what these names is refer­ring to. Short­ened to al-iklil [الإكليل] the crown, the Arabic name is the source of the modern Portu­guese name of rose­mary, al­ecrim. See also caper for further Iberic loans of Arabic plant names. Strange­ly, there is a related herb whose name is also often con­nected to mountain without con­vincing semantic ex­planation: oregano is often suspected to derive Greek oros [ὄρος] mountain.

Selected Links

Indian Spices: Rosemary ( Ilkas und Ullis Kochecke: Rosmarin ( via A Pinch of Rosemary ( San Marcos Growers: Rosemary Pflanzen des Capitulare de Villis: Rosmarin ( Saskatchewan Herb and Spice Association: Rosemary Alles over Rozemarijn ( Desirable Herb and Spice Varieties: Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary flower
Rosemary flower (cultivar name Blue Lagoon)
Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary flower close-up
Rosemary flower
Rosmarinus officinalis: Flowering rosemary shrub
Flowering rosemary shrub
Rosemary is a popular spice in many Western countries, but its usage is most popular in the Med­iterranean countries, especially Italy and Southern France (see lavender about the spice mixture herbes de Provence and parsley about bouquet garni), less so Greece. Rosemary may be used to flavour vinegar (see dill).

Rosemary does not lose its flavour by long cook­ing, as many other leaves un­for­tunate­ly do. The fresh leaves have a more pure fra­grance and are there­fore pre­ferred when­ever avail­able.

Use rose­mary for fish, meat (especially poultry), but also for vege­tables. It is fre­quently recom­mended for potatoes and suitable for vege­tables fried in olive oil (au­bergines, zucchini, tomatoes), as commonly prepared in Medi­terranean countries. In Italian cuisine, mutton is hardly ever cooked without rosemary, and broiled poultry wrapped in rosemary twigs is also very popular. A similar effect can be achieved by sprinkling rosemary leaves on the glowing charcoal during grilling (see also myrtle).

Rosemary is one of those herbs that are more potent in the dried than in the fresh state (see thyme). Dried rosemary is among the most powerful herbal spices, and care must be taken not to overdose which may result in a disagreeable perfumed odour. In contrast, applying fresh rosemary allows for more of a light hand. Many cooks, especially those influences by Mediterranean cooking, consider fresh rosemary superior to the dried one in every case, and use fresh rosemary whenever available.

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