Clinopodium georgianum R.M.Harper

Georgia Savory, Georgia Calamint



Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Clinopodium

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: 7 to 9

Size: 18" tall and wide

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun


Semi-evergreen shrub. Aromatic foliage. White to pink flowers in summer are very attractive to bees. Shear after flowering. Grows in heavy soils.



Discovered by Michaux near the Savannah River and the town of Augusta. He named it Thymus carolinianus and cited Thymbra caroliniana Walter thinking it the same plant although they are now believed to be different. Over the next hundred years the plant was reclassified several times, first to the genus Calamintha around 1818 and then again in 1891 when all the Calamintha were changed to Clinopodium. In 1906 Roland Harper published an article "Some new or otherwise noteworthy plants for the coastal plain of Georgia" in which he describes the "bibliographic history" of the plant and assigns it the species "georgianum". This became the accepted name and is used today in commerce. However Kew reports it as a synonym of Clinopodium carolinianum Mill. published in 1768. Perhaps they are the same plant but there is no track of the reasoning behind this conclusion. There is no plant information other than Miller's work available describing the plant which suggests that they are one and the same since 2 plants do not exist in commerce, and if they are the same then Miller's name would take precedence, however the authors of C. georgianum have historically kept it separate from Miller's plant

For now, I will accept the more commonly used name, C. georgianum R.M.Harper published in Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 33: 243 in 1906.


My Experience: 

I purchased 3 1-gallon plants from Nurseries Caroliniana in October 2009 and planted them along the edge of the croquet lawn, forming a short hedge. They remained evergreen the first winter and bloomed profusely throughout the summer. As they became more woody they started to look untidy and then broke apart to some extent, either because of deer or drought. In winter 2010 they lost many leaves. They greened up again but looked woody in spring 2011. In summer they started to die back. Two died completely and one was moved to behind the Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls'.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner