In botany, the term herb refers to a herbaceous plant, defined as a small, seed-bearing plant without a woody stem in which all aerial parts (i.e. above ground) die back to the ground at the end of each growing season. Usually the term refers to perennials, although herbaceous plants can also be annuals (where the plant dies at the end of the growing season and grows back from seed next year), or biennials. This term is in contrast to shrubs and trees which possess a woody stem. Shrubs and trees are also defined in terms of size, where shrubs are less than ten meters tall, and trees may grow over ten meters. The word herbaceous is derived from Latin herb?ceus meaning "grassy", from herba "grass, herb."
Herbs can be perennials such as thyme, sage or lavender, biennials such as parsley, or annuals like basil. Perennial herbs can be shrubs such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), or trees such as bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both herbs and spices, such as dill weed and dill seed or coriander leaves and seeds. There are also some herbs, such as those in the mint family, that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Emperor Charlemagne compiled a list of 74 different herbs that were to be planted in his gardens. The connection between herbs and health is important already in the European Middle Ages-.
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