Rosmarinus officinalis comes from the Mediterranean areas.
It is an aromatic plant with very fragrant leaves, widely used in cooking. The leaves are persistent. It is a shrub that in nature can reach 3 meters in height. Mauve-blue flowers that bloom from spring.
Rosemary is an evergreen and bushy perennial shrub, the only representative of its kind in the Labiatae family. The stem of Rosmarinus officinalis is initially prostrate, but over time it becomes erect and branched. The leaves are dark green, lighter on the lower page, numerous, sessile and opposite, gathered in the young twigs and inserted 2 by 2 in the nodes. The flowers, hermaphrodite, present (where the climate is mild) for most of the year, are of a beautiful violet blue color and gathered in clusters at the axil of the leaves. The fruit is composed of four brown achenes and small dimensions.
Pollination is almost always done by insects. In particular, bees and bumblebees are strongly attracted to the flowers and the scent emanating from this plant.
The root system is highly developed, fibrous and resistant, and allows the plant to live in arid, poor and dry soil. It is very useful for making the soil more compact and avoiding landslides.
If allowed to grow it can reach up to 2 meters in height and as many in width.
Different portaments can be found. In the spontaneous state it is generally an erect shrub. However, cultivars with prostrate or semi-prostrate habitus have also been developed, suitable for rock gardens and useful for covering walls or steep areas.
Rosemary originates from the whole Mediterranean basin, in particular from the coastal areas. It is found, spontaneously, mainly on arid and sunny soils. Become part of the Mediterranean maquis, colonizing cliffs and ravines among the rocks. It is spread from sea level up to 650 meters above sea level. On the islands, especially in Sardinia and Corsica, it can also be found up to 1500 meters above sea level.
The etymology of its name is rather controversial. It certainly derives from the Latin. Some think it means "sea rose", others consider "sea dew" more adherent.