Winter savory, Satureja montana
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Satureja
  • Thymbra Mill. 1754 not L. 1753
  • Saturiastrum Fourr.
  • Euhesperida Brullo & Furnari
  • Argantoniella G.López & R.Morales

Satureja is a genus of aromatic plants of the family Lamiaceae, related to rosemary and thyme. It is native to North Africa, southern and southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. A few New World species were formerly included in Satureja, but they have all been moved to other genera. Several species are cultivated as culinary herbs called savory, and they have become established in the wild in a few places.[1][2]


Satureja species may be annual or perennial. They are low-growing herbs and subshrubs, reaching heights of 15–50 cm (5.9–19.7 in).

The leaves are 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) long, with flowers forming in whorls on the stem, white to pale pink-violet.

Ecology and cultivation

Satureja species are food plants for the larva of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Caterpillars of the moth Coleophora bifrondella feed exclusively on winter savory (S. montana).

Savory may be grown purely for ornamental purposes; members of the genus need sun and well-drained soil.


Dried summer savory leaves

Both summer savory (Satureja hortensis) and winter savory (Satureja montana) are used to flavor food. The former is preferred by cooks but as an annual is only available in summer; winter savory is an evergreen perennial.

Savory plays an important part in Armenian, Georgian, Bulgarian and Italian cuisine, particularly when cooking beans. It is also used to season the traditional Acadian stew known as fricot. The modern spice mixture Herbes de Provence has savory as one of the principal ingredients.

In Azerbaijan, savory is often incorporated as a flavoring in black tea.


Satureja subspicata


Formerly in Satureja


The etymology of the Latin word "satureia" is unclear. Speculation that it is related to saturare,[6] to satyr,[6] or to za'atar[7] is not well supported. The ancient Hebrew name is Tzatrah צתרה.


  1. ^ a b c "Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families".
  2. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Satureja includes photos plus distribution maps for Europe + North America
  3. ^ a b Moradi, Shirin; Sadeghi, Ehsan (2017). "Study of the antimicrobial effects of essential oil of Satureja edmondi and nisin on Staphylococcus aureus in commercial soup". Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. 41 (4): e13337. doi:10.1111/jfpp.13337.
  4. ^ Hazrati, Hossein; Saharkhiz, Mohammad Jamal; Niakousari, Mehrdad; Moein, Mahmoodreza (August 2017). "Natural herbicide activity of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil nanoemulsion on the seed germination and morphophysiological features of two important weed species". Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 142: 423–430. doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.04.041. ISSN 1090-2414. PMID 28456128.
  5. ^ a b Abbasloo, Elham; Denhgan, Mohammad; Najafipour, Hamid; Vahidi, Reza; Dabiri, Shahriar; Sepehri, Gholamreza; Asadikaram, Gholamreza (September 21, 2016). "The anti-inflammatory properties of Satureja khuzistanica Jamzad essential oil attenuate the effects of traumatic brain injuries in rats". Scientific Reports. 6 (31866): 31866. Bibcode:2016NatSR...631866A. doi:10.1038/srep31866. PMC 4989136. PMID 27535591.
  6. ^ a b F. E. J. Valpy, An Etymological Dictionary of the Latin Language, 1828, p. 542.
  7. ^ DeBaggio, Thomas; Tucker, Arthur O. (2009). The encyclopedia of herbs : a comprehensive reference to herbs of flavor and fragrance (2nd ed.). Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881929942.