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Sweet basil

Botanical Name:

Ocimum basilicum

Common Name:

Sweet basil,Common Basil,Greek Royal,Kiss-Me-Nicholas,Lemon Basil,Basil,Saint Joseph's Wort,Thai Basil


Basil is an annual, or sometimes perennial, herb used for its leaves. Depending on the variety, plants can reach between 30 cm (0.98 ft) and 150 cm (4.9 ft). Its leaves are richly green and ovate, but otherwise come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes depending on cultivar. Leaf sizes range from 3 cm (1.2 in) to 11 cm (4.3 in) long, and between 1 cm (0.39 in) and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. Basil grows a thick, central taproot. Its flowers are small and white, and grow from a central inflorescence that emerges from the central stem atop the plant. PhytochemistryEdit The various basils have such different scents because the herb has a number of different essential oils in different proportions for various cultivars. The essential oil from European basil contains high concentrations of linalool and methyl chavicol (estragole), in a ratio of about 3:1. Other constituents include: 1,8-cineole, eugenol, and myrcene, among others. The clove scent of sweet basil is derived from eugenol. The aroma profile of basil includes 1,8-cineole and methyl eugenol.

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Ocimum - Basils




Bloom Time


Plant Type

Annuals, Herbs, Herb/Forb, Annual, Edible, Herb, Herbaceous Perennial, Perennial, A stout, bushy, aromatic herb


Annual, Perennial


The small white flowers are lipped in shape. They are arranged in whorled racemes with bracts at the base. Some ornamental varieties have spikes of showy purple flowers. Blooms in late summer., White flowers in loose racemes


Nutlets black, ovoid, longer than broad, 2–2.5 mm long, ± smooth to minutely tuberculate, mucilaginous when wet

How to Grow


Average, Mesic


Full Sun, Full Sun to Partial Shade, Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)

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