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Basil Leaves

Ocimum basilicum


There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as 'African Blue'. Basil remain best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.


Origin: Africa, Middle-east, and Asia, mostly India. Growth Habits: Annual herb, up to 24 inches tall (60 cm). Watering Needs: Regular water. Propagation: Seeds.


Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor.

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Spotted by

Vallermosa, Sardegna, Italy

Spotted on Aug 20, 2011
Submitted on Aug 28, 2011

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