|Basil is an
annual herb to 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall with green stems (usually woody
at the base) that are square in cross section. Basil has opposite
leaves, 2-4 in (5.1-10.2cm) long, and tiny purple or white flowers
arranged in flattened whorls that encircle the stems, one whorl above
another. Plants are leafy and branch freely with a pair of opposing
branches in a flat plane, then another pair above in a plane
perpendicular to the last, and so on. There are many cultivars of
basil, selected for their fragrances and colors.
Basil is easy to raise and fast growing too.
Light: Full sun or, in very hot climates, light, partial shade.
Moisture: Basil likes a well-drained soil and regular watering. It
appreciates a good mulch covering over the roots.
Hardiness: Basil is a tender annual and cannot tolerate frost. It
sometimes seems like the leaves turn black if frost is just in the
forecast! If it doesn't get frosted, basil sometimes will live for two
Propagation: Basil is easy to grow from seed. Sow in place after all
danger of frost has past. For areas with short growing seasons, start
indoors 4-8 weeks before setting out.
|Country of Origin: Tropical Asia
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
Parts Used: The oil is steam distilled from the leaves
|Basil must be used freshly cut, its lively spicy aroma is easily lost. The
leaves contain < 1 % essential oil of variable composition. Major constituents
are linalool and methylchavicol (estragol) together with eugenol,
methyleugenol, methyl cinnamate, 1,8-cineole, caryophyllene, etc.