Thursday, July 18, 2024
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rosemaryRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an evergreen perrenial shrub that is native to the Meditarrenean coast.  It is a hardy, drought tolerant plant that can tolerate a range of soil pH. Cape Mountain OIls produces two kinds of rosemary essential oils:  Tuscan Blue (cineole) and a standard Officinalis (verbenone). The demand for the verbenone variety is strong and we are expanding our production in this area. The plants have dense and pretty blue flowers that are a favourite of the honey bees. 

Rosmarinus officinalis is a hardy perrenial plant that can be densely cultivated in the field.  South African estimates of yield are at 12 000 plants per hectare with a plant material yield of 2,4 tones per harvest.  Harvesting can occur several times per year.  The oil is characteristically camphoraceous, containg varying levels of cineole, pinene, camphor and camphene, linalool and terpineol.  Oil yield is expected to be around 1 %.

tuscan blue

1.     TUSCAN BLUE (cineole):   Tuscan Blue is in truth a variety of Officinalis, but it has a distinctive shape and oil.  The plant tends to grow upright, sending long branches upwards with little side spreading unless topped and pruned.  The branches become thicker and woodier over time, reducing the yield and making harvesting more difficult.  The growth after pruning is soft and green, with higher yields of oil.  Propogation from cuttings is relatively easy, and mortality in the field is low, although we found initial take-off growth to be surprisingly slow.  The oil of Tuscan Blue tends to be softer and slightly less camphorous than the ordinary Officinalis.  The oil is highly corrosive and care must be taken in bottling as the oil is destructive if left in contact with plastic.  Yield is average (around 0.3 %), but regrowth is rapid and harvestng can take place relatively often.

2.    OFFICINALIS (verbenone):  this rosemary is the standard essential oil rosemary.  It is a squat plant that grows laterally, forming a fairly low bush that will have long side shoots.  The branches do not thicken as quickly as with Tuscan Blue, but if not harvested the plant will become increasingly woody, losing its green growth.  growth after harvesting is fairly rapid, with soft green shoots remaining in place for several months before hardening.  Propogation from cuttings is straightforward and mortality in the field is low, although a lack of harvesting results in woodiness and a decline in plant health.  The oil is corrosive.  Yield is the same as for Tuscan Blue, but the oil has a higher camphorous element.

The composition of our rosemary officinalis oil is as follows:

Pinene-alpha 18.17
Pinene-beta 4.09
Limonene 4.58
Cineole-1,8 8.02
Linalool 2.28
Camphor 11.34
Camphene 6.95
Borneol 3.68
Terpinen-4-ol 1.36
Carophyllene-beta 0.98
Verbenone 7.47
Bornyl acetate 14.94

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