Sunday, August 22, 2021

The origin of basil leaves

Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is an annual herb belonging to the mint family (Lamiaceae). Basil is native to areas in Asia and Africa and grows wild as a perennial on some pacific islands, where it has been grown for 5000 years.

There are more than 50 species of basil. These differ in growth habit, physiological appearance, and chemical and aromatic composition. Basil was probably first cultivated in India.

The generic name, Ocimum, originates from the ancient Greek word okimon, which means smell. The specific epithet, basilicum, is Latin for basilikon, which means kingly/royal in Greek.

The history of basil is steeped in legend and mystery. Many believe it was Alexander the Great (356–323 BCE) who brought it to Greece. It was grown in medieval gardens and is mentioned in many classic herbals, including those of Culpeper, Gerard, Parkinson and Dioscorides.

Basil is thought to have been brought to England from India in the 1500s, eventually arriving in the USA in the early 1600s.
The origin of basil leaves