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Ocimum tenuiflorum is often confused with:
Ocimum basilicum Ocimum basilicum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Thymus vulgaris Thymus vulgaris
Ocimum basilicum Ocimum basilicum
Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum
Ocimum tenuiflorum has some common insect problems:
Japanese Beetle

Tulasi Ocimum tenuiflorum

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Ocimum sanctum
Description

Holy basil is an aromatic annual or short-lived pernnial or subshrub in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Southern Asia. The genus name comes from the Greek word okimon which means aromatic herb.

While holy basil is a close relative of culinary basil, its leaves tend to have a purple cast, its flowers are not as large, and it is shorter-lived.  This erect multistemmed subshrub grows rapidly to a height of 3 feet and easily propagates itself by seed.

It prefers full sun in moist, well drained soil.  While it tolerates a wide variety of soil types and pH conditions it does poorly in water logged soils.  

Plant it in a sensory or herb garden to enjoy its spicy fragrance but place it in a confined area or container to manage its spread.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Japanese beetles can skeletonize and defoliate leaves.  Remove them by hand. It can be considered an aggressive weed in regions outside its native range.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#purple leaves#weedy#fragrant leaves#salt tolerant#fast growing#herb garden culinary#hairy leaves#subshrub#sensory garden#hairy stems#container plant#wet soils intolerant#short-lived perennials
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#purple leaves#weedy#fragrant leaves#salt tolerant#fast growing#herb garden culinary#hairy leaves#subshrub#sensory garden#hairy stems#container plant#wet soils intolerant#short-lived perennials
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ocimum
    Species:
    tenuiflorum
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    A plant used in the Hindu religion and Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the body, and for stomach and skin issues.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast Asia
    Edibility:
    A culinary herb especially in Asia used in the same ways as sweet basil though it is commonly cooked or used in teas rather than used raw. Fragrant leaves have a spicy bite that is a mix of clove, mint, and basil flavor.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Purple-green to brown smooth to slightly pitted elliptical nutlets 0.8-1.2 mm long with numerous seeds inside.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    Colored Sepals
    fused petals
    Flower Description:
    White, pale pink or lavender tiny tubular flowers with green or purple sepals in terminal panicles or racemes that are 4-12 cm long.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Pungently fragrant pubescent leaves are simple, elliptic to oblong with serrate to entire margins. Leaves are 1.5 to 3 inches long and .5 inches wide. Hairs are on both sides but especially on veins on the underside.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Highly pubescent square stems in purple or green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt
    Problems:
    Weedy