The Main Plant entry for Basils (Ocimum)

This database entry exists to show plant data and photos that apply generically to all Basils.


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Posted by Marilyn (Northern KY - Zone 6a) on May 22, 2013 8:25 PM

"Ocimum is a genus of about 35 species of aromatic annual and perennial herbs and shrubs in the family Lamiaceae, mostly native to the tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World.

Some species include:

Ocimum americanum (syn. O. canum) is a native of tropical Africa.

Ocimum basilicum, or sweet basil, a culinary herb. Most culinary and ornamental basils are cultivars of this species and there are many hybrids between species.

O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora, or Thai basil, is a common ingredient in Thai cuisine, with a strong flavour similar to aniseed, used to flavour Thai curries and stir-fries.

Ocimum campechianum, or Amazonian basil, is a South American variety often utilized in ayahuasca rituals for its smell which is said to help avoid bad visions.

Ocimum centraliafricanum, known for growing in soil so rich in copper that nothing else can survive.

Ocimum gratissimum, also known as African basil, or Wild basil in Hawaii, where it has naturalized.

Ocimum tenuiflorum (syn. O. sanctum), commonly called Holy Basil or Tulsi, is a sacred herb in India, used in teas, healing remedies, and cosmetics. The plant is worshiped as dear to Vishnu in some sects of Vaishnavism. It is also used in Thai cooking.


Ocimum × citriodorum, or Lemon Basil, a hybrid between O. americanum and
O. basilicum, is noted for its lemon flavour and used in cooking.

Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum 'Dark Opal'

Ocimum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Endoclita malabaricus."

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

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