Botanical name: Ocimum
Botanical name: Ocimum
Ocimum are a group of strongly aromatic, and often flavorful, herbs and shrubs. Many species within the genus are of tremendous culinary importance. Some species are used as herbs, and others are used as teas. Ocimum have such an influence all over the world that many cultures consider these species to be sacred and use them in religious rituals.
Species of Ocimum
Lemon basil, hoary basil, Thai lemon basil, or Lao basil, (Ocimum × africanum) is a hybrid between basil (Ocimum basilicum) and American basil (Ocimum americanum). The herb is grown primarily in northeastern Africa and southern Asia for its fragrant lemon scent, and is used in cooking. Lemon basil stems can grow to 20–40 cm (8–20 in) tall. It has white flowers in late summer to early fall. The leaves are similar to basil leaves, but tend to be narrower with slightly serrated edges. Seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant. Lemon basil is a popular herb in Arabic, Indonesian, Philippines, Lao, Malay, Persian and Thai cuisine.
Common basil 'African Blue'
Common basil 'African Blue' is a cross between camphor basil and dark oval basil. It is a sterile basil that cannot produce seeds of its own. The leaves start out purple and change to green over time. Long purple stems produce dark purple buds that open into lavender flowers. Common basil 'African Blue' is named for its purplish-blue color and African parentage.
Sweet basil 'Dolce Fresca'
Sweet basil 'Dolce Fresca' is a compact and fragrant variety that is perfect for containers. Its tiny leaves are full of flavor and can be used fresh or dried. Not only is it a staple in Italian cuisine, but it also attracts pollinators to the garden.
Sweet basil 'Persian'
Named for its origin in the Middle East, sweet basil 'Persian' has a strong, spicy, anise-clove flavor and emits a powerful aroma. This basil has large green leaves and sturdy branches. The long purple stems are home to beautiful pink flowers that bloom later in the season than other basils.
Sweet basil 'Thai'
Sweet basil 'Thai' is a popular basil. This basil has narrow, dark green leaves with purple veins. The purple stems bloom purple flowers. Sweet basil 'Thai' has a fragrance that is pleasant and sweet, and a flavor reminiscent of anise, licorice, and clove.
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a fragrant herb that’s indigenous to India. It’s a popular ingredient in Thai cuisine. When used for this purpose, it’s called Thai holy basil. Adherents of the Vaishnava strain of Hinduism use it in religious ceremonies. Holistic practitioners worldwide place immense value on the aromatic essential oil derived from the plant.
Sweet basil 'Genovese'
Sweet basil 'Genovese' is known for its spicy-sweet flavor and is a popular choice for Italian dishes. This herb is typically grown in herb gardens and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It can repel mosquitos and is a great addition to any garden or kitchen.
Sweet basil 'Cinnamon'
Sweet basil 'Cinnamon' has a spicy flavor and a fragrance reminiscent of incense. The foliage is serrated and dark green with purple veins. As lovely as it is flavorful, sweet basil 'Cinnamon' has purple stems that bloom white and pink flowers throughout the summer.
Sweet basil 'Siam Queen'
Sweet basil 'Siam Queen' is a popular Thai basil variety known for its strong anise and licorice aroma. Its vibrant green foliage and purple stems make for a beautiful addition to any garden. Not only a culinary herb, but it also has medicinal and insect-repelling properties. Its leaves are also used in traditional Thai medicine.
Sweet basil 'Dark Opal'
The sweet basil 'Dark Opal' isn't an easy variety to grow, but with its eggplant color and mild licorice flavor, they are well worth the extra care. This annual herb, cultivated by John Scarchuk and Joseph Lent from sweet basil in the 1950s, loves hot weather and makes a beautiful ornamental bush. Pop flower buds off to promote the best leaf growth.
Ocimum americanum, known as American basil or "hoary basil", is an annual herb with white or lavender flowers. It is used for medicinal purposes. Despite the misleading name, it is native to Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, China, Southeast Asia. The species is naturalized in Queensland, Christmas Island, and parts of tropical America.
African basil (Ocimum gratissimum) has an accurate name since it is a member of the basil family native to Africa, although you'll now find it in many tropical and subtropical climates as an introduced species. This aromatic herb is used in cooking to flavor foods. It is also grown commercially because it's widely used as an essential oil.
Aroma 2 Basil
Aroma 2 Basil is an upright basil plant with aromatic, ovate, dark green leaves that have a sweet and spicy fragrance. This basil plant has white flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Aroma 2 Basil is an improved hybrid of Genovese basil, which is the most popular basil for culinary use.
Sweet basil is a species of mint plant native to Asia and Africa. It is a popular houseplant, and thrives when it receives plenty of regular sun and water. This plant is also easy to transfer from one soil environment to another. The edible sweet basil leaves can be eaten fresh or dried with pizza, salads, soups, teas, and many other dishes.
Greek basil is a multi-stemmed perennial that's often used as a low-growing ground cover. It produces mauve or white frilly flowers that attract a number of pollinators and butterflies. It's considered a "pyrophyte" - a species that's well adapted to fire and often appears after the grass has been burnt.
Ocimum carnosum is a herb originating from Central and South America that is a member of the basil family. The plant has some garden interest for its shiny leaves and small but attractive dark pink flowers that bloom from spring until fall. It grows best in sunny or partially shady conditions.