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Ocimum basilicum


Ocimum basilicum L.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Common Name: Common Basil, Basil, 罗勒, 九层塔


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial, Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.6 m to 1.5 m


Native Distribution Africa, Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herbaceous plant with erect growth habit and branching stems.
Stems Herbaceous, aromatic stem is 4-sided and hairless (or sometimes slightly hairy). The stem tends to branch.
Flowers Small, white flowers (1 cm long) are composed of an upper and lower lip, the lower lip being slightly larger. White stamens are slightly longer than the lower lip. Terminal inflorescence is composed of flowers in whorled arrangement.
Fruits Small, 1-seeded fruits are known as nutlets.
Cultivation Grow it in a sunny location and regular watering. Prune the plant to encourage the growth of more leafy branches.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)
[Others]: Fresh or dried leaves commonly used in cooking for their fragrance and flavour, especially in tomato-based dishes like pizzas and sphaghetti. Fresh leaves can can be blended with other ingredients to make pesto sauce used in Italian cooking. Seeds become gelantinous when soaked in water, used in Asian drinks and desserts. Essential oils from plant reported to have anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. Fresh leaves said to have slight numbing effect when chewed, and used to relieve sore throats. Also eaten or drunk as tea to relieve stomach gas and stomach cramps. Essential oils widely used in cosmetics, perfumes and soaps. Ancient Egyptians used oils in embalming fluids for mummies.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Gravity)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Raceme

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Nut / Nutlet

Image Repository



Master ID 980
Species ID 2274
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 February 2022.