Conradina verticillata
Common Name: Cumberland rosemary 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Lavender-pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Best grown in sandy, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Established plants have drought tolerance. May reseed in the garden in optimum conditions. Reseeding helps retain this short-lived perennial in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Contradina verticillata, commonly known as Cumberland rosemary, is a rare evergreen shrub of the mint family which typically grows to 15-20” tall. It is native to the Cumberland Plateau in several counties in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee where it is primarily found growing on sandy/gravelly stream banks which typically experience seasonal flooding followed by somewhat dry summers. Key shrub features include: (a) clumps/mats of spreading, bark-shredding, almost square-stemmed branches which root in the ground at the nodes, (b) stiff, aromatic, tiny, fragrant, needle-like leaves (to 3/4” long) which mimic the shape and exude the strong scent (particularly when crushed) of Salvia rosmarinus (the culinary rosemary of the mint family), (c) red-spotted, pink to lavender, two-lipped flowers (to 3/4” long) in axillary 2-7 flowered verticillasters which bloom in May-June, and (d) nutlets which fall to the ground when the calyx drops.

Federally listed as Threatened by the USFWS (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Genus name honors Solomon White Conrad (1779-1831), American botanist from Philadelphia.

Specific epithet is in reference to the flowers appearing in verticillasters.

Common name is in reference to the Cumberland Plateau where this plant is native.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Rock gardens. Water margins. Native plant gardens.