Closely related to Ocimum basilicum[
Ocimum africanum Lour.
Ocimum album Roxb.
Ocimum brachiatum Blume
Ocimum canum Sims
Ocimum dichotomum Hochst. ex Benth.
Ocimum dinteri Briq.
Ocimum fluminense Vell.
Ocimum fruticulosum Burch.
Ocimum hispidulum Schumach. & Thonn.
Ocimum incanescens Mart.
Ocimum serpyllifolium glabrior Benth.
Ocimum stamineum Sims
Ocimum thymoides Baker
Common Name: Hairy Basil
Ocimum americanum is an erect, perennial, aromatic plant usually growing 20 - 30cm tall with some specimens up to 100cm[
]. The plant is often grown as an annual, especially in cooler climates.
The aromatic leaves are used as a flavouring in a range of foods, whilst a cooling drink can be made from the seeds. The plant is gathered from the wild and also often cultivated[
Tropical Africa; E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea.
Roadsides, in fields, in teak forests, and in open waste places, preferring sunny, wind-sheltered spots[
]. It is found at elevations from sea level, usually to 500 metres but occasionally to 2,000 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, where it is usually found at elevations up to 500 metres, but occasionally to 2,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 35°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 500 - 3,000mm[
Prefers a rich, light, well-drained to dry soil and a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5 - 8[
The plant can become a bad weed on farms in western Africa[
The plant can commence flowering when 8 - 12 weeks old, seeds mature after 14 - 20 weeks. Harvest may start 2 - 3 months after sowing[
An average yield is 2 - 3 tonnes per hectare of dried leaves annually, giving 25 - 40 kilos of solid camphor. However, higher yields are possible through manuring[
Hairy basil contains a number of different essential oils, each with their own distinctive taste and aroma[
]. Three main forms, or chemo-types, of the plant are known - one has a floral-lemony aroma, one is camphoraceous and the other spicy[
Young leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Steamed and eaten as a side dish with rice[
]. The leaves can also be used as a flavouring in salads, sauces, soups etc[
The seeds, when soaked in water, swell into a gelatinous mass, called indring in Java[
]. This can be mixed with coconut milk and sugar to form a sweet, cooling beverage[
The leaves are made into a paste that is used in the treatment of skin diseases, it is also applied to wounds and burns that are not healing well[
An essential oil can be extracted from the plant[
]. It is used in soap and cosmetics[
]. The oil contains citral, camphor, and methyl-cinnamate[
Seed - an be sown in situ. It usually germinates within 7 - 14 days[
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