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 Ocimum subsp. var.  
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[[]] > Ocimum var. ,

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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Ocimum (an old Greek name). Sometimes spelled Ocymum. Labiatae. Sweet herbs. See Basil.

Annual and perennial, sometimes shrubby, with opposite Lvs.: fls. mostly small and white or whitish, or yellow, usually 6 in each verticil and the verticils in terminal or paniculate racemes; calyx deflexed in fr., unequal-toothed; corolla-tube usually not exceeding the calyx, 2-lipped, the upper lip 4-lobed; stamens 4, didynamous and declined; style shortly 2-cut: nutlets ovoid or subglobo.se, smooth or punctate.—Species about 60, in the warmer parts of the world. Little known in cult, except in the basil, which is used as seasoning and also grown for its very pleasing fragrance. This is O. Basflicum, Linn., of Trop. Asia and Afr. and Pacific islands: annual, glabrous or slightly pubescent, much branched, 1-2 ft. high: Lvs. petioled, ovate, entire or toothed: fls. in moderately dense racemes, white or more or less tinged purple; calyx becoming ¼ in. long, and corolla ⅓-½ in. long; stamens slightly exserted. O. minimum, Linn., the bush basil, is probably a small cult, form of the foregoing. O. suave, Willd. (O. gratissimum var. suave, Hook.), the tree basil of India, Afr., and the E., is a shrub 4-8 ft. high, woody below and much branched, the Lvs. densely soft-tomentose on both surfaces and in this differing from 0. gratissimum: Lvs. ovate, acute, crenate or coarse-toothed: corolla whitish or purple-tinged, little exceeding the calyx, the latter becoming ¼ in. long: racemes dense and much panicled, becoming 6-9 in. long.

Of the common basil (0. Basilicum) are forms of compact habit, and others with purplish foliage; also with crimped or wavy Lvs. The basils are tender and should not be trusted in the open ground until unsettled weather is passed. The plants may be started indoors, and transplanted to 6-10 in. apart in warm ground. The herbage is cut when the plant is growing, and dried in bundles; the plant, when cut off, gives a new crop if it is not exhausted and if the soil is good. Roots may be lifted for a winter supply of foliage. The very aromatic herbage is used for seasoning, and the plant was once esteemed for medicinal properties. The oil is used in the preparation of certain liquors.

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