Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Basil, a name applied to species of the genus Ocimum, a member of the order Labiatie, natives of India, but grown in England as pot-herbs since the sixteenth century. In this genus the flowers are in verticillasters, forming an interrupted terminal raceme; the posterior sepal is large, rounded, and decurrent; the whole calyx deflexed after flowering; the corolla is short, its lower lip flat, and the four stamens are bent down on this lip. The chief species are O. basilicum, sweet or common basil; and O. minimum, bush basil.