Rosemary ?

ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)January 11, 2008

A friend was asking about different types of Rosemary. She has some that looks more like a houseplant and trails down the sides of the planter, and has seen other types as well.

She was asking if the different rosemaries have different flavors or if they are all edible etc.. The regular rosemary in our area is a shrub (USDA zone 8ish)

All I know about it is I go out on my deck and grab a branch to chop up and flavor my chicken dish for the evening!

Any help out there?


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I just looked up rosemary on wikipedia - there is only one species of rosemary, so all the different kinds of rosemary are different cultivars. Since they're all the same species, I think it would be safe to assume that if one is edible they're all edible (there are very few plants where one cultivar is poisonous and another edible - most of a plant's significant traits - such as toxicity - are determined by species. Different cultivars usually just means different forms or flavors.)

The only health concerns come from eating too much rosemary, or using rosemary oil, or allergic people, and there isn't any distinction between one type or another in the article.

Researching further it seems there are some with different flavors. Of course, some will have been selected for a distinct flavor, others for cold hardiness, and others for a certain look. Whether ones bred simply to look different also taste different is up to your own nose and taste buds.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 10:09PM
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As with all plants different substances in the soil and amount of light will cause variation of tastes.

Rosemary is one of the plants that is not recommended for pregant women because it could cause contractions and possible loss of fetus in iffy pregancies. There are several of these common herbs that were used in folk medicene to prevent conception in certain doses.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 11:27PM
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witchsbrew(7 NC)

I Have and grow a few different varieties of Rosemary. You have the shrub type, but there are also Prostrate and Salem varieties which are trailing. These are absolutely gorgeous. If you have a chance to grow these other types, by all means do so.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 12:18AM
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CA Kate

I think you can use all varieties, but some are more "piney" than others. I have one plant that I know is good for cooking and I use that one. But, if I want to make a hair rinse I go to the upright one which has a stronger scent.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:57PM
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There are many varieties of rosemary, so are hardier than others. The crawling type is sometimes called "prostrate", I believe or Rosmarinus officinalis "Protratus".

I have five bushes, all which seem to be winter hardy. Thank goodness, and it's one of my favorite herbs. I used to overwinter them, with success, indoors during the winter (the upside to that being that the house smelled wonderful!). But as I mentioned in another thread, since learning a neighbor left his in the ground without damage during the winter despite snowfall last year, I've left mine outside, and it's doing fine.

So I guess it all depends on the variety of rosemary.

I will say one of them is one I almost gave up on. And one I would NEVER buy again. You see them in the grocery stores around herb season. They're shaped, pruned, sort of like Christmas trees and are beautiful, but very hard to keep alive.

I brought my home, and had nothing with trouble with it from the onset. It was extremely rootbound, and transplanting was not an easy task. And soon it started to show signs of dying out. I pruned it back, what I saw was dying, and just left it, and occasionally still watered it, and to my surprise, this year it sprung back and is beautiful and bushy. It has lost it's "Christmas tree" shape (a small sacrifice) due to the pruning I had to do, but it made up for it by putting out new shoots and filling out wonderfully. I was quite surprised. I almost gave it up for dead. Now it's one of my "go-to" plants for harvesting for cooking, it does so well in recovery.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:01AM
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II like the rosemary shrub( like what you have) the shrub can be mis used like anything else, but the aroma is great, I would like to have it around for a long time. I just lost mine, now I have to find another one to plant again. Like you, I like going out the door and get a few sprigs. The only thing about the trailing ones, I would go to your favorite nursury in your area and ask( the pros knows!!). Mary

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 8:26AM
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