Savory plant characteristics

What is a savory plant (Satureja hortensis)

Characteristics of savory plant


General aspect of the plant

Common English name: Summer savory

Botanical classification

Vascular plants


Seed plants


Flower plants

SpeciesS. hortensis

Scientific name of the savory: Satureja hortensis L.

Family:Labiatae or Lamiaceae

Origin: plant native to the Mediterranean region.

Habitat: Annual plant that is usually cultivated in pot, gardens, orchards, etc.

Rarely wild. Old farmland. It can grow between 0 and 1,000m. high. It is said that with altitude it loses essential oil.

Distribution: Mediterranean Sea region, Black Sea, Central Europe, Southern Europe, Asia Minor and Siberia.

Description of Savory

Savory or Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) is a plant of the Lamiaceae family, the same family to which other aromatic spices such as thyme, mint and marjoram belong.

Herbaceous annual plant, measuring between 15-20, up to 60cm. It has many ramifications. Stems erect and woody.

Leaves alternate, composite, petiolated (short petiole), linear-lanceolate and grayish green. Whole margins.

Flowers bilabiate, of 2-6mm. And pale pink color. They grow in bouquets of 2 in 2. it blooms between June and August, until October.

The fruit is an achene of four angles and blackish color.


Satureja hortensis. Detail of a branch with leaves and flower

In fact, under the name savory, two species of different plants are hidden: the summer savory (Satureja hortensis), a generally cultivated species, and the winter savory (Satureja montana) a species that is only found in the wild. Both species share their food and therapeutic properties. They can be distinguished because the garden species is annual, while the mountain or wild one is perennial.

* More information on winter savory

Used parts

Floral parts and leaves: they are used as aromatic spice. It is added to pizzas, pasta dishes, rice dishes, legumes or potatoes.

They are also used in decoctions, plasters and compresses for medicinal purposes.

Composition of savory

Carbohydrates, proteins and fats in nutritional not remarkable amounts, since savory is consumed in very little quantity.

Fibrous type mucilage

Essential oil (0.2 – 2.8%): carvacrol (30-40%), cymol (10-20%), thymol (1-5%), beta-terpinene (2-10%). Savory also contains other aromas, to a lesser extent: alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-terpineol, borneol, camphene, geraniol, limonene, myrcene, sabinene, thuyone.

Phenolic acids: caffeic, siringeic, vanillic, parahydroxybenzenoic, paracumaric, ferulic, rosmarinic (labiatic) acids.

Ursolic acid: with antioxidant, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

Phytosterols: beta-sitosterol.

Tannins (4-8%)

Flavonoids: (apigenin, scutelarine, etc.)

PUNTO ROJO More information on savory.

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

2 July, 2021

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