The Origin of Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Lockwood de Forest’

The Origin of Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Lockwood de Forest’

By Arthur L. Menzies

For some years now the most commonly sold creeping rosemary in California nurseries has been Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Lockwood de Forest’. This plant has been erroneously labeled in most nurseries as Rosmarinus lockwoodi, R. Foresti, or R. foresteri. In a recent publication, A Checklist of Woody Ornamental Plants of California by Mildred E. Mathias and Elizabeth McClintock (published by the University of California, College of Agriculture as Manual 32) the correct cultivar name for this plant has been designated as Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Lockwood de Forest’.

In a letter recently received from Mrs. de Forest, the following information regarding the origin of this cultivar should be of interest:

We discovered this plant here in own Santa Barbara garden where we had, egged on by Sydney Mitchell, a planting of Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’ from the La Mortola Gardens original, and also bushes of the upright Rosmarinus officinalis. We assumed that it was a garden hybrid resulting from a cross between the two, but is could well have been a sport of R. officinalis ‘Prostratus’. Having found it, Lockwood immediately had cuttings from it, but it was not until after his death in 1949, that I realized that ‘Lockwood de Forest’ was being used to designate it. I can think of no happier memorial.

Originally published in the October 1963 issue of the Journal of the California Horticultural Society.