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Plant Collections

Herb Garden

A wide range of herbs from well known leafy annuals such as Basil and Coriander, to majestic mature trees such as the Camphor Laurels Cinnamomum camphora and Cassia Bark Tree Cinnamomum burmannii. The large trees are remnants from the original 1890s Medicinal Garden. Plants displayed are from all over the world including Australia, and several are rare or have been collected from the wild.

The Herb Garden has many plants with highly fragrant flowers or leaves, which make it a sweetly scented place to visit at any time of the year. The collection and its produce are used by the Gardens education programs.

Best Viewed

  • November


Lavandula species


Rosmarinus officinalis


Origanum vulgare


Thymus species


Laurus nobilis


Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

Key Plants

Artemisia dracunculus subsp. dracunculus  French Tarragon

Delicately aniseed flavoured herb, used with eggs, fish and chicken dishes.

Crithmum maritimum Rock Samphire

Unusual and very ornamental edible plant from coastal north west Europe.

Cinnamomum camphora Camphor Laurel

Evergreen tree valued for its timber, and the source of camphor oil.

Lavandula species Lavenders

A number of different species and varieties.

Laurus nobilis Bay Tree

Leaves are used for flavouring food, and medicinally.

Melaleuca leucadendra Weeping Paperbark

One of the many Melaleucas from which Tea Tree oil can be extracted.

Pelargonium species Scented Pelargoniums

Several species and forms, scents vary from rose, lemon, mint, used for flavouring and perfume.

Salvia species Sages

Many species used in cooking and as medicines.

Thymus species Thymes

Several species of these culinary and medicinal plants represented, including lemon, caraway, and some unusual species.

Persicaria odoratum Vietnamese Mint

Pungent herb used in many south east Asian dishes.

Curator Notes

  1. The Herb Garden is maintained using organic principles, no pesticides or herbicides.
  2. Annual leafy herbs such as Basil and Coriander respond well to fortnightly liquid feeding.
  3. Many perennial herbs are best pruned after flowering eg: Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Mint.


  • 1890 - a medicinal garden was originally established on this site by William Guilfoyle, the Gardens director.
  • 1982 - Herb Society of Victoria approached the RBGM about re-establishing a Herb Garden on the original Medicinal Garden site.
  • 1985 - planting and landscaping begins with donations from the Herb Society of Victoria, The Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and Robertson Stock Bricks.
  • 1986 - Herb Garden opened by The Hon. Joan Kirner MLC, Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands.
  • 1987 - installation of bronze armillary sphere sundial, designed by Studio Masse and funded by the Herb Society of Victoria.