sweet_basilThis list of Basil cultivars is a comprehensive list of cultivated varieties (cultivars) of Basil. They are used in a variety of ways: as culinary herbs, landscape plants, healing herbs, teas, and for worship. All true Basils are species of genus Ocimum. The genus is particularly diverse and includes annuals, non-woody perennials, and shrubs native to Africa and other tropical and subtropical regions of the Old and New World.

Basil cultivars vary in several ways. Visually, the size and shape of the leaves vary greatly, from the large lettuce-like leaves of the Mammoth Basil and Lettuce leaf Basil to the tiny leaves of the Dwarf bush Basil. More practically, the fragrance of the Basil varies due to the varying types and quantities of essential oils contained in the plants. The most important are 1,8 [ineol, linalool, citral, methyl chavicol (estragole), eugenol and methyl cinnamate, although hardly any Basil contains all of these in any significant amount.

sweet basil* Sweet Basil:- O. Basilicum. The best known, with a strong clove scent when fresh.






lettuce leaf basil* Lettuce Leaf Basil:- O. Basilicum. A large-leaf variety of ”Ocimum Basilicum” (Sweet Basil). The large, crinkled leaves, which grow on the short, wide plant, are sweet, but not as strong as other sweet Basils. This makes them particularly suitable for tossing into salads or wrapping fish, chicken or a rice stuffing for grilling.



basilico genevese basil* Basilico Genovese:- O. Basilicum. A lettuce leaf Basil variety, originating from Italy. Like many culinary Basils, it is a cultivar of Ocimum Basilicum (Sweet Basil). The plant grows to approximately 18 inches tall and produces large ruffled leaves with a jagged edge. The flavor is similar to but stronger than the flavor of Genovese Basil. The leaves are used in pesto or whole, in salads.



genovese basil* Genovese Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Genovese Gigante’. A cultivar of ”Ocimum Basilicum” (Sweet Basil). It is one of the most popular Basils for culinary use, particularly for its use in pesto, the traditional Genova*genoese sauce.

The name “Basilico Genovese” is protected by the European Union with the Denominazione di Origine Protetta certification. Genoese Basil is produced in the provinces of Genoa, Savona, and Imperia.

The best Genoese Basil is said to be grown in Prà, a western delegation of the city of Genoa, close to Cornigliano. The nearby presence of a large steel mill from the 1950s to the 1980s threatened the cultivar, said to be necessary to produce the “real” Genoa*genoese pesto. Now the threat is mostly gone with the dismissal of the mill and the conversion of the remaining lines to less polluting productions.

nufar basil* Nufar Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Nufar F1’. It is the first variety of Genovese Basil (”O. Basilicum “Genovese””) that is resistant to fusarium wilt. Fusarium wilt is a disease that causes sudden wilting and death in Basil. It is caused by the fungus ”Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Basilicum”, which attacks the xylem in the stem, blocking water uptake and leading to characteristic sudden leaf wilt that does not respond to watering.



spicy globe* Spicy globe Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Spicy Globe’. Grows in a bush form, very small leaves, strong flavor. Unlike some better-known Basils, it grows in the form of a tidy, compact bush, more suitable for gardens and small pots than most varieties.



greek basil*Greek Yevani Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Greek Yevani’. An Annual. Basil Greek Yevani is an organically grown version of Basil Greek Spicy Globe. A Basil lover’s treat, it has a spicy Basil flavor and aroma that is a complement to any tomato dish. The small mounding plant is excellent for containers. (Since a little goes a long way, this Basil is an excellent choice for small gardens, decks, patios, or balcony gardens.) Plants grow 6 tall and 12″ wide. Try using it as an ornamental for herbal pots and as an edible border for the flower garden!

fino verde basil* Fino Verde Basil:- O. Basilicum piccolo. Small, narrow leaves, sweeter, less pungent smell than larger leaved varieties. Some sources list Fino Verde as a synonym for spicy globe Basil, while others list it as a separate variety. Fino Verde grows as a small, dense bush, suitable for gardening or pots. The leaves are much smaller than those of most Basils. The flavor is similar to that of sweet Basil but stronger and spicier. The leaves are easy to use in cooking because they can be used twigs and all, unlike Basils with larger leaves.


boxwood basil*Boxwood Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Boxwood’.  This one is for those that love to grow edibles but also have a formal look to your garden, here’s new Basil that with fulfilling your culinary and classical design needs. ‘Boxwood Basil’ looks like a miniature boxwood plant with its tight leaf and branch structure and upright shape. However, it is Basil. The leaves can be used for salads, pesto, and cooking. ‘Boxwood Basil’ makes an excellent edging plant or container variety for a formal appearance on your patio or in the garden. The 12- to 16-inch-tall plant has small, aromatic leaves and, like all Basil, grows best in full sun on fertile, well-drained soil. It tolerates heat well. It can also be shaped into a topiary. Imagine a Basil-scented animal topiary in your garden.

Purple ruffles Basil* Purple ruffles Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Purple Ruffles’. Solid purple, rich and spicy and a little more anise-like than the flavor of Genovese Basil. This attractive Basil variety has won multiple awards for its beauty, flavor, and ease of cultivation, including the Mississippi Medallion and All-American Selection awards




Magical Michael* Magical Michael:- O. Basilicum ‘Magical Michael’ Award-winning hybrid with an uncommon degree of uniformity, and nice flavor for culinary use. The plants reliably grown to 15 inches tall and 16-17 inches wide. This degree of uniformity is unusual in Basil varieties. The flowers of the plant are also unusual, with purple calyxes and white corollas. The flavor is similar to Sweet Basil.[1] Magical Michael is a past winner of the All-American Selection award

Dark Opal Basil* Dark Opal Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Purpurascens’.  A cultivar of Ocimum Basilicum (Sweet Basil), developed at the University of Connecticut in the 1950s. With deep purple, sometimes mottled leaves, it is grown as much for its decorative appeal as for its culinary value. Dark Opal Basil was a 1962 winner of the All-American Selection award.

Like other purple Basils, the purple color is from anthocyanins, especially cyanidin-3-(di-p-coumarylglucoside)-5-glucoside but also other cyanidin based and peonidin based compounds. ‘Dark Opal’, along with other large-leaved purple cultivars such as ‘Purple Ruffles’, has a high concentration of anthocyanins and is considered a potential source of red pigments for the food industry. The anthocyanin concentration is about 18 mg per 100 g fresh leaves, similar to Perilla Frutescens, and greater than smaller leaved purple Basils such as ‘Purple Bush’ (at about 6 mg per 100 g)

Red Rubin Basil* Red Rubin Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Red Rubin’. Strong magenta color, similar flavor to sweet Basil, also called ”Opal Basil”. an improved variety of Dark Opal Basil. Like many culinary Basils, it is a cultivar of Ocimum Basilicum (Sweet Basil). This Basil variety has unusual reddish-purple leaves, and a stronger flavor than sweet Basil, making it most appealing for salads and garnishes



Osmin Purple Basil

*Osmin Purple Basil:-O. Basilicum ‘Osmin Purple’. Dark shiny purple with a jagged edge on the leaves, smaller leaves than Red Rubin. It is distinguished from other purple Basil varieties by smaller, darker leaves. It has the darkest leaves of any purple Basil variety.[2] The plant averages a height of 20 inches (51 cm) and is grown in sunny or partially sunny environments




Cuban Basil* Cuban Basil:- O. Basilicum. Similar to Sweet Basil, with smaller leaves and stronger flavor, grown from cuttings. Cuban Basil is a delicious spicy form of Basil. The flavor is very similar to sweet Basil with a bit of spicy kick. Leaves are small like lime Basil but the plants can grow about 15-30″ high and 2 feet around. This Basil is perennial but still sensitive to cold weather so it must be brought indoors in the winter.




* Thai Basil:-O. Basilicum var. thyrsiflorum. Called Ho-ra-pa in Thai language, gets its scent of licorice from estragole. A type of Sweet Basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide distinctive traits. Its flavor is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of Sweet Basil. Thai Basil exhibits small, narrow leaves and purple stems, with a mauve (pink-purple) flower. One cultivar commonly grown in the United States is ‘Queen of Siam’.


Siam Queen* Queen of Siam:- O. Basilicum var. thyrsiflorum. Siam Queen A named cultivar of Thai Basil. A uniform and attractive Thai Basil with a relatively strong clove-like flavor! Adds great taste to soups and various dishes! Medium green leaves grow up to 2” long and have an intense licorice-Basil aroma. Deep red-purple flowers form in compact clusters, adding to this herb’s decorative value. Does well in sun and shade, has average water needs and is great for growing in containers! Good bolt resistance. 70 days to harvest.


Cinnamon Basil* Cinnamon Basil:- O. Basilicum Cinnamon. Also called ”Mexican spice Basil”, contains cinnamate, the same chemical that gives cinnamon its flavor, and has the strongest scent of cinnamon. The leaves are small to medium sized. The combination of Basil and cinnamon flavors make cinnamon Basil popular for use in hot drinks and with fruits.


Licorice Basil* Licorice Basil:- O. Basilicum ‘Licorice’. Also known as ”Anise Basil” or ”Persian Basil”, silvery leaves, spicy licorice smell comes from the same chemical as in anise, anethole. Thai Basil is also sometimes called ”Licorice Basil”. Licorice Basil is used to add a mild licorice flavor to recipes…especially good with fish, in salads, or to flavor candy! Purple spikes make this an attractive as well as a tasty addition to your herb garden!



lemon basil* Lemon Basil:- O. americanum. Contains citral and limonene, therefore actually does smell very lemony, tastes sweeter. Originally, and sometimes still, called “hoary Basil”. Popular in Indonesia, where it is known as ‘kemangi’. Also sometimes ‘Indonesian Basil’. A hybrid between Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) and African Basil (Ocimum americanum).

The herb is grown primarily in northeastern Africa and southern Asia for its strong fragrant lemon scent and is used in cooking.

Lemon Basil stems can grow to 20-40 cm tall. It has white flowers in late summer to early fall. The leaves are similar to Basil leaves but tend to be narrower. Seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant. Lemon Basil is a popular herb in Arabic, Indonesian, Lao, Persian, and Thai cuisine.

Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil* Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil:- O. Basilicum var. ”citriodora”. Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil is an heirloom cultivar of Ocimum Basilicum (Sweet Basil) from New Mexico in the United States. The lemon flavor is more intense, the leaves are larger, and the plant itself is more robust than regular lemon Basil!




Lime Basil* Lime Basil:- O. americanum. Similar to lemon Basil and also known as lime, hairy or “hoary Basil”, is an annual herb with white or lavender flowers. It is used for medicinal purposes.





Greek column Basil* Greek column Basil:- O. citriodorum ‘Lesbos’. Columnar Basil, can only be propagated from cuttings. Greek Columnar Basil is named for its unique growth habit. While reaching 3′ tall, it only grows 10? across resulting in a stately columnar appearance. It is one of the stronger-flavored Basils, good for stews and hearty dishes in modest amounts. Greek Columnar Basil is not the best Basil variety for pesto. There are overtones of cinnamon in its aroma. Greek Columnar Basil has smaller leaves and an upright habit and is late to bloom


Thai Lemon Basil* Thai Lemon Basil:- O. citriodorum. Called Manglik in Thai language. It has a citrus odor, with a distinct Lemon-balm-like flavor. The herb is grown primarily in northeastern Africa and southern Asia for its strong fragrant lemon scent and is used in cooking.

Lemon Basil stems can grow to 20-40 cm tall. It has white flowers in late summer to early fall. The leaves are similar to Basil leaves but tend to be narrower. Seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant. Lemon Basil is a popular herb in Arabic, Indonesian, Lao, Persian, and Thai cuisine.


Holy Basil* Holy Basil:- O. sanctum ”O. tenuiflorum. Also ”Sacred Basil”, ”Tulsi” in Hindi language, a Perennial plant breed from India, used in Ayurveda, for worship, and in Thai cooking. is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. It is an erect, much-branched subshrub, 30–60 cm tall with hairy stems and simple, opposite, green leaves that are strongly scented. Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5 cm long, usually slightly toothed. The flowers are purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls.[2] The two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulsi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi).

Clove Basil* Clove Basil:- O. gratissimum. It is also known as African Basil, and in Hawaii as Wild Basil, is a species of Ocimum. It is naturalized in Hawaii.





 Greek bush Basil * Greek bush Basil (Greek Spicy Globe Basil):- O. minimum ”O. Basilicum” var. ”minimum”). Forms a nearly perfectly round globe, with thin, tiny leaves and a delicious scent. Despite its name, the variety probably originated in Chile. Improved bush Basil variety with smaller leaves, tight compact bushes, and uniform growth. Excellent as pot plants.



Dwarf bush Basil* Dwarf bush Basil:-. O. minimum.  Unusually small bush variety, similar to ”Greek bush Basil”. The annual plant produces very flavored and tender Basil leaves. Forms a mound of foliage with white flowers. The tiny leaves are very aromatic, some with a lemon undertone. Used in salads and with tomatoes. Excellent for sauces, salads, and Italian dishes. The small plant is suitable for a container plant.


African Blue Basil* African Blue Basil:- O. kilimandscharicum Basilicum. A sterile perennial hybrid, with purple coloration on its leaves and containing a strong portion of actual camphor in its scent. is one of a few types of Basil that is perennial. It is a sterile hybrid of two other breeds of Basil, unable to produce seeds of its own, and is propagated by cuttings.

This particular breed of Basil has a strong camphor scent, inherited from Ocimum kilimandscharicum (camphor Basil), its East African parent. The concentration of camphor is 22% (compared with 61% for O. kilimandscharicum). The concentration of the other major aroma compounds, linalool (55%), and 1,8-cineole (15%) are comparable to many Basil cultivars.

Although the combination of a perennial plant with the scent and flavor of sweet Basil would seem to make it a very desirable culinary variety, the high camphor content can interfere with its use in cooking. It is, however, an attractive ornamental.

The leaves of African blue Basil start out purple when young, only growing green as the given leaf grows to its full size, and even then retaining purple veins. Based on other purple Basils, the color is from anthocyanins, especially cyanidin-3-(di-p-coumarylglucoside)-5-glucoside, but also other cyanidin-based and peonidin-based compounds.

It blooms profusely like an annual, but being sterile can never go to seed. It’s also taller than many Basil cultivars.

Spice Basil* Spice Basil:- O. Basilicum americanum. A fruity/musky-scented cultivar sometimes sold as Holy Basil. Spice Basil is described as having a vanilla overtone. It smells more like a sweet-smelling Basil to me rather than having the vanilla smell.

This variant of Basil can be used as other Basils and is excellent in Mediterranean dishes, tomatoes, zucchini, eggs, fish, poultry, pesto, soups, and salads.


Sweet Dani Basil* Sweet Dani Basil:- O. Basilicum americanum. A vigorous, large-leaved green Basil with a strong, fresh lemon scent, a 1998 All-American Selection. a hybrid sweet Basil cultivar developed at Purdue University by James E. Simon and Mario Morales. The cultivar was developed as a research project, by growing a large variety of Basil’s, gathering their seeds, mixing them in a paper bag, and seeing what emerged. The most interesting plants were then isolated, and their seeds collected. The variety was an All-American Selection in 1998 and is now available commercially.



I truly hope you have enjoyed this post.  JCO

Graphics courtesy of Google Images

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