rosemary [ultimately from Lat., = dew of the sea], widely cultivated evergreen and shrubby perennial ( Rosmarinus officinalis ) of the family Labiatae (mint family), fairly hardy and native to the Mediterranean region. It has small light-blue flowers. The aromatic leaves, whitish beneath, are used for seasoning, and the oil is used in perfume and medicine. From ancient times rosemary has been regarded as a token of constancy and remembrance. In Hamlet (iv:5) Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." There is a prostrate variety. Rosemary is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales, family Labiatae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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