Asking for my mom.

My mom picked in the garden some kind of "bushy" herb/spice, dried it and now does not remember anymore what it is, but she thinks it may be dill. Can you help identify it?

Unfortunately I have only pictures of the dried plant, the "branches" are around 40cm long and rather woody. Location is northern Italy (Alps), she claims it was somewhat overgrowing in the garden.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    It's not dill. Kind of looks like rosemary or thyme. Nothing definitive that I can use as answer. Does it have a scent when you crush some of the leaves?
    – Jurp
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 15:17
  • It has a scent but it's bit weak and hard to pin-point, fairly sure it's not (regular) rosemary. It could be thyme, but we had some freshly dried thyme too but it smelled different to me. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 17:05
  • The smell is dry/bitter, wheras the thyme is more sweet/mild. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


Disclaimer: Before consuming any plant identified via an Internet community, do your own research and confirm the id.

Based on the photos alone (scent is a huge factor when identifying herbs), I would classify this as Satureja montana, winter savory.

The overall habit is similar to thyme, but it’s larger, more vigorous and the leaves are thinner, albeit a bit longer and less pointy than thyme.

Winter savory (as opposed to the closely related milder summer savory1) is a perennial plant with a bitterness underlying the overall scent. Dried it can easily be confused with thyme, but the scent is quite different, yet distinctive.

1 Considering that summer savory is not frost-hardy and an annual, I would expect your mom to remember sowing or planting it specifically. Perennials tend to be “just there” in my experience, having had to remind my mom now and then what herb grows where. (Maybe plant tags would be a good Christmas gift...)

  • Having looked at pictures of the plant, this could be it! I'll wait if other suggestions come, else I will accept this as answer. Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 19:56

I have this growing in my garden but could not remember what it was. After some research I believe it to be Tarragon or Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa. Whether it is French or Russian tarragon is hard to say. Identifying characteristics would be:

  • anise type smell
  • small lanceolate leaves
  • grows best in poor sandy soils
  • preference for full sun
  • French tarragon flowers but does not set seed, the Russian Tarragon I have is not like this, it flowers and seeds readily
  • Russian Tarragon is vigorous growing to two or three feet tall in a season
  • French tarragon can only be grown from roots and has a stronger flavour
  • I would think that the leaves are too short and the overall habit too compact to be tarragon? And tarragon doesn’t have those little whorls?
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 5:24
  • Unfortunately my mom says to never have planted Tarragon. Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 8:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.