Picture of Basil
name for Sweet basil is Ocimum basilicum. It is an annual
aromatic herb which generally grows between 40 to 60 centimeters (1 ft
3 to 2 feet) high.
leaves, which reach a size of 2 to 3 centimeters, are oval shaped, with
a silky texture. They are light or dark green, although certain varieties
have purple or crimson leaves. The stems are squareish. The
fragrant flowers, are small and white, whilst the fine seeds are black
and rectangular in shape.
is part of the Lamiacea (also known as Labatae) family of plants.
It is grown as an aromatic and culinary, plant as well as for its attractive
appearance. Its aromatic perfume is very similar to the perfume given
off by cloves.
has also been fed to cattle as a purgative, and the latin name Ocimum
indicates the way that basil quickens the action of the bowels of
cattle. This latin word ocimum, comes from the Greek word ocheos,
which signifies to come quickly. The name Basil originates
from the Greek word, basilikos, which means royally, and is so-named because
of the spicy, noble smell. In india, Basil is known as Tulsi or Toolsee.
Origins of Basil and where it is found
was probably originally a native plant from Iran or India, although there
are some indications that it may have come from the African Continent.
It arrived in Europe via the Middle East in Italy. After this it
made its way to the south of France in 15th century, then on to England
in the 17th century. It then travelled across the Atlantic to America with the
first immigrants. Today, basil plants are particularly found near
Italy, and also in France, Morocco and Egypt. There is a similarly large
a proliferation of Basil in Asia, central and South America. In the USA
the largest quantities are cultivated in the State of California.