Unknown Plant

Can you tell me what this plant is? It is native here in Attica, Greece. It comes out every summer and goes away at winter. It is very aromatic to the touch. That is if you pass your hand over it, it gets a nice smell.

  • 2
    passing resemblance to rosemary
    – kevinskio
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 16:24
  • 2
    to me it looks more like tarragon, but we will have to see the flower to know for sure... if it isn't tarragon then something closer to rosemary is certainly possible, there are many many member of the mint family that are aromatic, if it does have square stems then it is almost certainly in Lamiaceae (the mint, basil, rosemary, oregano, etc family) Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 16:35
  • I doubt that this is tarragon, because tarragon won't grow from seed, but cuttings or divisions, and also isn't a native plant. Rosemary has opposite or sub-opposite leaves, but this plant has alternate ones. One thing you can do is dry some leaves, and taste them, and then taste storebought herbs to try and find a match. :) Then again, it may be poisonous.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 0:42
  • 1
    Could even be Summer Savory - impossible to say, but seeing flowers might help.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 11:38
  • @pkario do you have any update, particularly regarding images of the flowers? Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 0:46

1 Answer 1


Rather than an absolute answer, it might be best to let you identify it yourself.

First, it appears closest to a Rosemary, Tarragon or Savory. The things I would suggest to look for in each of the three are: scent, flowers and leaf patterns

Rosemary has an almost sage-like or kind of piney scent to it. It is rather pungent. The leaves on rosemary are kind of scaly when you look at them up close and have smooth edges. They are also opposite or sub-opposite, meaning that they come out opposite of each other along the stem. They flower pretty much over the length of the plant and are generally blue/purple in colour.

Tarragon is more of a sort of sweet smell and has a taste similar to anise or fennel. "True" tarragon rarely flowers, but there are Russian varieties that flower/seed and which could be what you're seeing. Flowers are yellow and show only at the top/end of the stem. They have alternate leaves that have an almost smooth look, though they are veiny.

Savory has a mildly peppery/sweet taste to it and the smell is similar. It also has simple, opposite leaves. Also, they have a smooth edge to them. Flowers are lavender to white in colour.

  • 2
    Sorry, I does not appear to be any of the three.
    – pkario
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 6:43
  • Thanks for the feedback! What is the scent and what do the flowers look like? Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 16:23
  • The scent is strong and seems to be coming from oil (don't forget that is summer plant in an area that has not see rain from april till september). The flowers I will have to wait for a while to be produced. They are small and white.
    – pkario
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 6:54

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