Friday, January 22, 2016

Flower Friday: It's true! False rosemary is great for landscapes.

Conradina canescens. Photo by Wayne Matchett.
False rosemary (Conradina canescens)

Click on terms for botanical definitions.

False rosemary is a robust, evergreen flowering shrub. Flowers are two-lipped: the upper lip is whitish with lavender spots and the lower lip is lavender. They appear to bend upward. Leaves are needle-like, grayish-green and oppositely arranged. The calyx, corolla and leaves are all canescent, or covered in fine, whitish hairs (hence the species name canescens, which comes from the Latin canescere, meaning to turn white or gray). The entire plant is aromatic.

False rosemary typically blooms from March through November, but can occur year-round. (A population in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa County was flowering last weekend.) It occurs naturally in sand pine scrub and sandhills. Many pollinator species are attracted to false rosemary, but bees are the most prominent visitor.

There are only six species of Conradina worldwide; all are native to the United States and four are native to Florida.*

Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Native range: Western Panhandle (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties) and Hernando, Polk and Highlands counties
Hardiness: Zones 8-9
Soil: Extremely dry, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 2-3+' tall
Propagation: Seed, cuttings
Garden tips: False rosemary is drought tolerant, however, in the landscape setting, it may require additional water during extreme droughts. Otherwise, it is an extremely adaptable species that can make a nice addition to a home landscape.

False rosemary plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Click to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where false rosemary occurs naturally, click here

*Some experts consider Conradina brevifolia to be its own species, but the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants considers it a synonym of Conradina canescens.

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