Rosemary (Lat. rosmarinus, dew of the sea, the plant growing wild upon the Mediterranean coast), a genus of the labiate family, consisting of a single species, rosmarinus officinalis. Rosemary is a shrub 4 or 5 ft. high, with opposite, sessile, entire, linear leaves, about an inch long, which are rather thick, and revolute on the margins, the upper surface smooth and green, the under side white-hoary, with stellate hairs; the pale blue flowers appear in the axils of the upper leaves, and have the structure common to the monardiae tribe of labiates to which the genus belongs. All parts of the plant have an aromatic odor and taste due to an essential oil. Its aromatic qualities were known to the ancients, who ascribed numerous virtues to it; in Europe it was formerly used in funeral as well as marriage garlands, it being regarded as the herb of remembrance and fidelity, and there were various superstitions connected with it. The Germans appear to value it at present, and the florists near large cities send to market numerous pots of rosemary each spring to supply the demand. It is not hardy north of Virginia. The properties of rosemary are similar to those of other aromatics; it has long had a reputation as a useful stimulant for the hair, and the oil is still employed to perfume hair washes.
Dried rosemary tops are sometimes kept in the shops, but it is principally used in the form of oil, which is made in considerable quantities on the southern coast of France and that of Italy, and largely by persons who travel from place to place with a rude still, which they set up in localities where the plant is abundant. The oil of commerce is much adulterated; when pure it has an agreeable odor, and is used in some kinds of perfumery, and as an external stimulant in liniments. - Marsh rosemary is the common name for statice limonium, a perennial herb of the plumbaginaceae, the large and intensely astringent root of which is often used in domestic practice.