A new name for an old plant

Rosemary is an old plant but it recently received a new name.

I received some earth-shattering news the other day that I’m not over yet. I will share that news with you, but you better be sitting down in case you start feeling faint.

The Royal Horticultural Society, which was founded in London in 1804, has made a startling announcement. It concerns the herb rosemary. All of these years, since 1753, rosemary has been know a Rosmarinus, officinalis. They have discovered through DNA that the rosemary plant is actually part of the Salvia family.

Who knew? Some bee must have hopped on the wrong plant or something way back when and never told anyone. Now his promiscuity has found him out.

The new and official name is Salvia rosmarinus. The good news is it’s still going by the common name rosemary. I told you that you’d be shocked!

One of the few things that my wife and I actually agree on is neither one of us like rosemary. It is an herb that originates from the Mediterranean region. My wife has a Mediterranean region heritage, but I don’t. She even eats eggplant!

In the south, rosemary can be grown outside as a shrub. Up here, in the Arctic Circle, it’s best grown in a container, which you can set outside during the warm months and bring in when the Ice Age starts.

There are only three tricks to growing rosemary in a container. They require full sun, a well-drained soil, and do not overwater them. Make sure the soil is dry before watering it again.

If you decide you want to grow this smelly plant, I would buy a good-sized one at the nursery, since they grow so slow. A terra cotta pot is best to use, but if you are careful with watering, any old pot will do.

When it comes time for you to ruin the flavor of your homemade soup, cut off a couple inches, and toss them in the kettle. You can also plant a few cuttings in loose soil, or place them in water, to start some new plants.

A couple of varieties you might want to try are, Blue Boy or Golden Rain. They both are short, bushy growers.

I’m not real sure why they dropped the name officinalis. When you see that word in a botanical name, it means the plant can be used for medical purposes.

Three things that rosemary helps with are muscle pain, stimulating hair growth and improve memory. I need all three. Twice this week, I have left my phone or police scanner in restaurants. I’ve never done that before. What is more embarrassing is when my wife hands me my scanner and says, “You left this on the table.” I’m sorry, but that was not the exact quote. There were a few adjectives after the work “you,” that I left out.

Rosemary is also used to prevent premature graying, something I don’t have.

If you are growing rosemary inside, you need the perfect level of humidity and air flow. Otherwise, you will get a white fungus on your plant called powdery mildew. It is caused by too much humidity and too little air flow.

Last week, I attended the Simon & Garfunkel tribute as part of the Celebrity Series at Westminster College. The singers introduced the song “Scarborough Fair” by saying, “If you listen closely, you may get a recipe for a good salad dressing.” Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are not going to be something I would like on my salad. Sweet and sour works fine for me, minus the carrots and purple cabbage. I always remove them for the next person, who might actually eat that stuff.

Make your space a green space.

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