If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Tropical Plants

Ocimum gratissimum

L.

Lamiaceae


Ocimum gratissimum is a variable, polymorphic species with many forms. It has at times been treated as a number of distinct species, in particular Ocimum suave Willd., and Ocimum viride Willd., have been recognised as distinct in many treatments. However, it is difficult to define clear differences between these three species because variations between them form a continuum merging from one to another. All three are treated here as part of the one complex species Ocimum gratissimum[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Geniosporum discolor Baker

Ocimum anosurum Fenzl

Ocimum arborescens Bojer ex Benth.

Ocimum caillei A.Chev.

Ocimum dalabaense A.Chev.

Ocimum febrifugum Lindl.

Ocimum frutescens Mill.

Ocimum guineense Schumach. & Thonn.

Ocimum heptodon P.Beauv.

Ocimum holosericeum J.F.Gmel.

Ocimum paniculatum Bojer

Ocimum petiolare Lam.

Ocimum robustum B.Heyne ex Hook.f.

Ocimum sericeum Medik.

Ocimum suave Willd.

Ocimum trichodon Baker ex G├╝rke

Ocimum urticifolium Roth

Ocimum villosum Weinm.

Ocimum viride Willd.

Ocimum viridiflorum Roth

Ocimum zeylanicum Medik.

Common Name: Clove Basil

Ocimum gratissimum
Flowering shrub
Photograph by: Scamperdale
Creative Commons License
Ocimum gratissimum Ocimum gratissimum Ocimum gratissimum Ocimum gratissimum Ocimum gratissimum

General Information

Clove basil is an erect, much-branched, aromatic shrub growing 50 - 300cm tall[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The plant is often cultivated, mainly in the tropics, where it provides a range of culinary and medicinal applications, and is an effective insect repellent. It yields an essential oil, for which it is grown on a commercial scale, the oil being exported to many countries. The leaves are sometimes sold in local markets in Africa[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Tropical Africa; E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia.

Habitat

Along lake shores, in savannah vegetation, in submontane forest, and disturbed land[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]; at elevations from sea level to 2,382 metres in west Africa[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitShrub
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details


Prefers a rich, light, well-drained to dry soil and a position in full sun[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The optimum harvesting time for distillation of the essential oil is when 3 branches per plant, or 75% of the branches, are flowering. In northern Vietnam 2 - 3 cuts can be obtained in an average year, 4 - 5 cuts per year in the south. In Vietnam, Ocimum gratissimum remains productive for 5 - 10 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
In India, yields of 70 - 75 tonnes per hectare green herbage, producing 400 litres of essential oil in 2 years have been obtained experimentally[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
In Thailand harvesting every 10 - 12 days resulted in an annual green herbage yield of only 13 tonnes per hectare, and an oil yield of nearly 200 litres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - cooked and eaten as a potherb, either on its own or sometimes combined with other leaves and the seeds of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
]. The leaves are also used as a flavouring with other foods[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
]. A favoured food in west Africa[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
]. There are both clove and thyme-scented forms[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The variety viride has leaves with the flavour of lemon thyme that can be used in salads and as a seasoning as well as to make herb teas[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The leaves are infused to make a tea[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Seeds - sometimes eaten in India[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

Clove basil is an aromatic, stimulant, antispasmodic, antiseptic herb that repels insects, expels internal parasites and lowers fevers[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The leaves and stems are used internally in the treatment of colds, especially chest colds; fevers, headaches, impotence, flatulence, diarrhoea, dysentery, post-partum problems, and worms in children[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
Applied externally, the leaves are used to treat rheumatism and lumbago[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

An essential oil obtained from the leaf has shown marked antibacterial activity[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is sometimes grown as a hedge[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The fresh above-ground parts of the plant contain 0.8 - 1.2% essential oil. The chemical composition of this oil is variable and at least 6 chemotypes have been reported, characterized by the main component of the particular essential oil. These are:-
Eugenol. This is the most important economically. It is a brownish-yellow to pale yellow liquid with a powerful, warm-spicy and aromatic odour, reminiscent of clove oil, but with a sweet-woody, almost floral top note. The dry-out is more bitter than that of clove oil. Analysis of a sample of an essential oil of the eugenol type from Vietnam indicated that the main component was eugenol (71%) with small amounts of D-germacrene and (Z)-beta-ocimene. In a sample from southern China the eugenol content was as much as 95%. Samples from Madagascar had eugenol contents of 40-90%, with very variable other components[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Thymol. This used to be important, but most thymol is now produced synthetically, while natural thymol is mostly obtained from Thymus vulgaris or Trachyspermum ammi. The thymol-type oil is a dark yellow to orange-yellow or brownish liquid with a medicinal-spicy, warm and somewhat herb-like odour. Its flavour is warm, slightly astringent and burning, and has a sweet medicinal aftertaste. Analysis of several samples of essential oils from O. Gratissimum from Central and West Africa rich in thymol indicated that their main constituents were thymol, gamma-terpinene, p-cymene and eugenol. The concrete obtained by solvent extraction is much richer in thymol than the distilled oil[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Citral. The citral type, reported from Iran, Pakistan and India, is rich in citral (67%) and geraniol (26%)[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Ethyl cinnamate.
Geraniol.
Linalool.
The essential oil in the plant is used in perfumery[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The plant repels insects[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is grown specifically to repel mosquitoes, whilst the essential oil is used in repellent formulae[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Propagation

Seed - germination rates can be less than 10%[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Cuttings take about 28 days to root[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.