Sage and Rosemary Tree

Common Name: Sage and Rosemary Tree[1]

Scientific Name: Tarchonanthus camphorates

Description: Tender, evergreen shrub or small tree; sweetly fragrant, branching shrub with thick, gray-green, downy foliage and stems

Size: Grows into a small tree, 6 feet high, but can be kept as a potted plant indoors or in a sunroom

Cultural Information: Prefers full sun and well-drained soil; drought tolerant

USDA Zones: 10 or higher

Historical Notes: This South African shrub was illustrated in the British nurseryman Robert Furber's famous 1732 Twelve Months of Flowers series of floral bouquets. Philip Miller of Chelsea Gardens in London further described this plant in his The Gardener's Dictionary, 1754. He noted that it was too tender to grow out-of-doors in England, but "may be placed in a common Green-house with Myrtles, Oleanders, and other hardy Exotic Plants."[2] The leaves, which have a camphor-like taste, were used medicinally as a decongestant. The wood is heavy and close-grained, and was recommended for musical instruments. During the Victorian Era, this plant disappeared from the literature, and is rarely cultivated today.

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. See 1735 edition.

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