Inedible Rosemary?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Diane Laird
Posted on: May 28, 2002

Conrad – I wonder if you remember me, I assisted you years ago with a workshop in the CompuServe Gardening Forum?

I do remember you! Those were pretty exciting days when email and online resources were just starting to take off. Now of course email and computers are essential parts of our lives...

There has been a message posted in the Cooks Forum on CompuServe (one of the largest remaining forums there) stating that Richters is selling an inedible rosemary for bonsai. I’m curious about this – is it a different species from Rosmarinus officinalis? If not, what makes it inedible?

We sell a variety called "pine rosemary", R. angustifolia. As the latin name indicates the leaves are narrower than most varieties of R. officinalis. It has a strong pine scent and flavour and cannot be used in the same way as regular rosemary.

I suppose that even a "piney" taste could be utilized in cooking. Heck even the Greeks found a way to love pine resin in wine, hence their much loved "retsina" wine. (Retsina is a personal favourite, so I suppose that I a somewhat more "open" about that constitutes good culinary experience!)

We have heard that this species is used in the West Indies as a tea made with milk. I don’t have any more details about the tea.

Pine rosemary grows much like the regular R. officinalis varieties: about the same height and over all bush form, and requires the same cultural conditions. It is quite attractive with its finer leaves and we think that it makes a fine subject for a living Christmas tree.

I’ve recommended Richters many times over the years to members of CompuServe and have always been rewarded with thanks by people who continue to be pleased with your products.

Thanks so much!

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