Clinopodium douglasii - Yerba Buena

Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family) [E-flora]


Habitat / Range
Mesic to dry open coniferous forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, common on S Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, infrequent on the adjacent mainland; S to ID and CA.[IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Use

Cultivation & Propagation

"Prefers an open position in a well-drained soil[1]. Succeeds in poor soils[200]. Plants grow best and live longer when grown in an open sunny position and a dry sandy soil[245]. A prostate plant, the stems forming roots at the leaf axils wherever they come into contact with the soil[245]. The bruised leaves release a most refreshing lemony scent resembling verbena[245]." [PFAF-1]

"Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division of the rooted prostrate stems in the spring." [PFAF-1]


Margriet Wetherwax & John M. Miller

Perennial herb to shrub, decumbent to erect, < 2 m, aromatic. Leaf: petioled; blade generally ovate-deltate, base rounded to tapered, margin entire to shallowly crenate-dentate, lower surface generally gland-dotted. Inflorescence: flowers 1–several in leaf axils. Flower: calyx 5-lobed, 2-lipped; corolla 5-lobed, white to lavender or salmon, 2-lipped, lower lip spreading, upper erect, 2-lobed; stamens 4, in 2 pairs, anther sacs spreading; style 2-lobed, exserted. Fruit: 1–2 mm; surface smooth to net-like.
150 species: generally Mediterranean, to Japan, Australia, also North America, South America. (Latin: savory) [Cantino & Wagstaff 1998 Brittonia 50:63–70] Clinopodium hortensis Kuntze cultivated as herb (summer savory). [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Clinopodium douglasii - Yerba buena [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  2. Clinopodium vulgare - Wild basil savory (wild basil) [E-flora]

Uses of Various Clinopodium Sp.


"The genin of compound 5 has been recently described as forming part of clinoposaponin XIX, a saponin isolated from Clinopodium spp. [25]. The saponin 3, at C-30 carboxylic acid, and compound 4, containing both, a hydroxyl at C-29 and a carboxylic group at C-30, were also found in the aerial parts." [Rahman SINPC]

Clinopodium vulgare - Wild basil savory (Wild basil)

Habitat / Range
Dry to wet disturbed areas in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; rare throughout BC; introduced from Eurasia. [IFBC-E-flora2]

Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora2]


  • Synonyms:
    • Calamintha clinopodium [E-flora2]
    • Calamintha vulgaris (L.) Halácsy, non Clairv. [E-flora2]
    • Clinopodium vulgare var. neogaea (Fernald) C.F. Reed [E-flora2]
    • Satureja vulgaris (L.) Fritsch [E-flora2]
      • var. diminuta (Simon) Fernald & Wiegand [E-flora2]
      • var. neogaea Fernald [E-flora2]


  • Clinopodium vulgare is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
    It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. [PFAF-2]
  • General: Perennial herb from creeping rhizome, soft-hairy, weakly scented; stems erect, 30-80 cm tall, simple or somewhat branched.
  • Leaves: Opposite, egg-shaped, 2-5 cm long, tips somewhat rounded, bases rounded or broadly tapered, shallowly toothed; stalked. [IFBC-E-flora2]
  • Flowers: Inflorescence of crowded, many-flowered, terminal and axillary clusters; bracts awl-shaped, mar gins hairy; corollas tubular, pink to rose-purple, 15-20 mm long, 2-lipped; calyces cylindric, 13-veined, the tube purplish, white-hairy, curved, somewhat 2-lipped, the upper 3 teeth broad-based, the 2 lower longer; stamens shorter than corollas. [IFBC-E-flora2]
  • Fruits: Nutlets, 4 clustered together, egg-shaped, smooth. [IFBC-E-flora2]
  • Habitat/Range: Most of Europe, including Britain, south and west to N. Africa, Siberia, central and western Asia.[PFAF-2]

Edible Use

  • Leaves - used fresh or dried as a flavouring in cooked foods[5, 8, 12, 183] or fresh as a flavouring in salads[177]. A sweet and aromatic herb tea is made from the fresh leaves[183]. [PFAF-2]

Other Use

  • Dye: A yellow and a brown dye are obtained from the leaves[46, 61].[PFAF-2]

Medicinal Use

  • The plant is aromatic, astringent, cardiotonic, carminative, diaphoretic and expectorant[4, 145]. An infusion of the plant helps to overcome weak digestion[244]. [PFAF-2]


Extract (petrol), % dry wt: 2.0 [1]
Waxes, %: 0.44 [1]
FAs of waxes, %: 0.1 [1]
Composition (GLC, 20% Reoplex 400), %: 14:0 -
1.37; 16:0 - 30.0; 18:0 - 3.39; 20:0 - tr; 18:1 -
10.62; 18:2 - 21.6; 18:3 - 29.63; others - 2.4 [1]
n-Triacontane, %: 0.098 [1]
M. p.
Sterols, % dry wt: 0.07 [2]
M.p. (acetate, benzoate) [1]
Phytol, % dry wt: 0.04 [2]
Triterpenoic acids, % dry wt: Ursolic acid –
1.40 [2]
M.p. [1]
b-Amyrin [2]

Aerial Part
Essential oil, % dry wt: 0.09 [3]
Components: 12:0; 14:0; 16:0; 18:0; 20:0; 18:1;
18:1(3); 18:2; 18:3 [3]
Triterpenoic acids, % dry wt: Ursolic acid – 1.6 [3]
Oil (hexane) [4]
Iodine value, % J2: 230.7 (cald) [4]
Composition (GLC, 10% PEGA), mol %: 16:0 -
3.7; 18:0 - 1.7; 18:1 - 7.2; 18:2 - 25.3; 18:3 -
62.1 [4]
Activity: Ether extracts have antibacterial property
Use: As fodder grass [3]. [LLCEOPS]

Cultivation & Propagation

Succeeds in almost any well-drained soil[1]. [PFAF-2]

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks at 21°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse. Plant them out in the summer if they have made sufficient growth, otherwise plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. Cuttings of soft wood in May or June. [PFAF-2]


Page last modified on Thursday, February 7, 2019 3:08 AM