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Wildlife on the BrinkSoutheast : Cumberland Rosemary
Cumberland RosemarySpecies Gallery

Cumberland Rosemary
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Conradina verticillata

STATUS: Threatened

HABITAT: Sunny or slightly shaded sandy banks along rivers and streams

LIFE HISTORY: Fragrant; sometimes mistaken for common rosemary. Half-inch flowers form from mid-May to early June; purple/lavender, occasionally white.

THREATS: Habitat loss and degradation due to hydro-management; water pollution

RANGE: Tennessee and Kentucky on the Cumberland Plateau


This modest flowering shrub roots itself on sandy banks along short stretches of three river systems in north-central Tennessee and Kentucky. Cumberland rosemary helps prevent these banks from eroding, but throughout its range this plant is being strangled by dam construction and water pollution.
It grows wild in only 44 spots in Tennessee and 4 in Kentucky, including in the Cumberland Plateau, an NRDC BioGem. Some people raise a cultivated strain in their back yards, using the aromatic leaves for cooking.
Recreational visitors to the Big South Fork National River also unintentionally trample this rare plant, which is listed as a threatened species.
BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places
Photos: Everglades © National Park Service; Florida panther © USFWS; wood stork © Ryan Hagerty, USFWS; red cockaded woodpecker © John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS; Cumberland rosemary © Marc Evans, KSNPC
Feature Home Print Version Alaska Northwest California Rockies/Prairie Southwest Midwest Southeast Northeast Hawaii International Florida Panther Wood Stork Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Cumberland Rosemary

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