For more than five thousand years people have used rosemary. In that time many myths and legends have arisen. The Rosemary Specialist presents some of these and modern scientific studies in the sections below.
Click on the pictures or scroll down to learn more about this fascinating plant (to be developed).
Rosemary is a member of the Lamiaceae, which is a large plant family containing mints, deadnettles and sages. It is to this last group of plants, the sages or Salvias, that rosemary belongs. Botanists have long been arguing over the status of the genus Rosmarinus. The stamens of rosemary are arranged slightly differently to those of sages, which has been enough to keep the two genera apart. The scientists that use genetics to determine plant and animal relationships (phylogenetics) were publishing data more than 15 years ago that indicated that rosemary really was a sage.
Plant taxonomists (scientists that group plants together because they have certain features in common) are always looking to make a name for themselves and they usually do this by "splitting" a group of plants into smaller groupings. However in the case of rosemary it has now been "lumped" with sages. So, since 2017, rosemary is no longer Rosmarinus officinalis but is now listed by the International Association of Plant Taxonomists as Salvia rosmarinus.
In the UK, it is usual for nurseries to label plants according to Royal Horticulural Society (RHS) naming. The RHS is not adopting the new name until 2020. We will be using up our old stocks of labels and in 2020 the plants we send out will start to have Salvia rosmarinus labels but they are still the same, much-loved, rosemary plants!