Basil: The King Of Herbs

One of the most popular herbs is Ocimum basilicum commonly called sweet basil. Often called the ‘king of herbs,’ basil can be grown indoors or outdoors. It originated in Asia, but now has become heavily used around the world. It is cultivated in more than 12 different varieties, some of which include Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil and Royal Basil. One of the most popular varieties of the basil herb is commonly referred to as Sweet Basil, because of its sweet aroma which derives from the essential oils founds in its leaves and stem. Sweet basil has inch-long, oval-pointed, dark green leaves and a clove-pepperish odour and taste. Sweet basil makes a handsome, bushy small plant, growing to a foot or more indoors. A purple-leafed variety, ‘Dark Opal’ is decorative, makes a lovely houseplant, and is equally useful in cookery. Do not let basil bloom, or it will go to seed. Instead, pinch out the plant tops and they will grow into compact little bushes.

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