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Ocimum Lour. × africanum

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Ocimum Vis. × citriodorum
Common Name: Lemon Basil, Hoary Basil
Full Sun Moderate Water Herb or Spice Fragrant Plant Annual Shrub


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Semi-Annual / Annual-Like, Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 30 cm to 45 cm


Native Distribution Africa, China, Taiwan, India, Southeast Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 45 cm tall.
Foliage Smooth, light green leaves are elliptic with pointed tips.
Flowers White to cream-coloured flowers are tubular and 2-lipped. They are arranged along a spike inflorescence.
Fruits Fruits are composed of tiny, 1-seeded nutlets.
Taxonomy It is a natural hybrid formed by a cross of Ocimum americanum with O. basilicum.
Cultivation This hybrid is best grown in containers.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves)
Food (Herb and Spice : Leaves have a lemon and basil taste and aroma. They can be used in salad dressing, pesto and dishes with fish or chicken. The leaves can be steeped in very hot water to make an herbal tea.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Foliage)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses General, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Planting Distance To 20
Planting Remarks If this plant is only used for its leaves, remove flowering spikes as they emerge to maximize leaf flavour. However, the seeds also have a strong lemon taste and can be used to prepare an herbal tea.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Seed or Spore Germination Duration From 2
Seed or Spore Germination Duration To 10
Seed or Spore Germination Duration Unit Days


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White, Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Spike
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Image Repository



Master ID 31385
Species ID 5782
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: 20 April 2020.