by Stephen Mifsud
   8 Dec 2023      ()
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Rosmarinus officinalis   (Rosemary)

Rosmarinus officinalis  (LAMIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2006 (taxon update: Oct-2006)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Rosmarinus officinalis - datasheet created on Oct-2006. Retrieved from on 08-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Rosmarinus officinalisL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 23 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Rosmarinus angustifolius Mill.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Lamiaceae Lindl. (=Labiatae) (The Mint Family)
36 species from the Lamiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :


Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule VIII of [S.L. 549.44] (Exploitation subject to management measures)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

All Year

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Rosmarinus: From 'Ros' meaning dew and 'Marinus' meaning of the sea hence dew of the sea. Possibly, the name have a connection to its wild coastal habitat in South Europe. (Latin origin )
officinalis: Commercially or 'officially' used and sold in shops for medicinal or healing applications. This epithet was given in the past to plants with well-known medicinal properties. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Encouraged to be planted in the wild that is in rural areas including ODZ.

Remarks :

The synonymisation with Salvia rosmarinus Spenn. is not widely accepted, and probably the taxon Rosmarinus officinalis will be conserved for its wide use worldwide for many centuries.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Dry scrub.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Valley sides, Rocky maquis.
Botanical Description: Up to 2 m, with erect, ascending or rarely procumbent, brown branches; aromatic. Leaves 15-40 x 1.2-3.5 mm, linear, coriaceous, with revolute margins, bright green and rugulose above, white-tomentose beneath, sessile. Peduncle and pedicels stellate-tomentose; calyx 3-4 mm, green or purplish and sparsely tomentose when young, later 5-7 mm subglabrous and distinctly veined. Corolla 10-12 mm, pale blue (rarely pink or white). Nutlets brown.
Chromosome number: 2n=24
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, extending to Portugal and N.W. Spain cultivated elsewhere for ornament or for its aromatic oil..

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Introduced in Albania, the Azores, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and former USSR
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Bl Co Cr Cy Eg Ga Gr Hs It Ju Li Lu Ma Sa Si Tn Tu(A) [Al Az Bu Ca Md Uk(K)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (12 images)
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-0.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-1.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-2.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-3.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-4.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-5.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-6.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-7.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-8.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-9.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-10.
   Rosmarinus officinalis   -   Image Code: RSMOF-11.

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