Ocinum basilicum belongs to the family of the Laminaceae, the labiates. The plant is better known as basil or Saint Josph's Wort. The scientific name basilicum comes from the Greek language meaning king. Indeed the smell and the aromas of the basil are said to be quite unique just like a king. One suggests that basil is native to India but no one can say it for sure.
Many old cultures like the Egypt already used the basil. From this times there are several myths known. For example one says that scorpions develop in a pot where pulverized basil has been put in (probably they were just attracted from the odor). Ocinum basilicum Genoveser is the variety that is cultivated the most. O. basilicum grows as an herbaceous plant that gets about 60 cm high. The leaves are dark green, ovate and curved. The flowers are small and white and are clustered in spikes. The leaves are used as a spice. They are best suited fresh for flavoring meals. Through drying the basil loses many of its aromas. Who wants to preserve basil should better freeze it, freezing conserves the aromas. The Italians like basil very much as a spice. The famous Genovese Pesto is made from Ocinum basilicum. It is best to use young leaves as a spice. Old leaves are hotter in taste and do not have the typical aroma as the young leaves do. Served as tea, basil can help against problems of the gastro intestinal tract.
Ocimum basilicum Genoveser needs light to germinate. That means one should put the seeds only a few millimeters into the substrate, that they can still be touched from the sun. At a sunny place with a temperature of just 20°C is enough for germination. After just 2 weeks the first seedlings will emerge. Who wants to have the basil for a long time should not forget to water the plant regularly. The basil is not winter hardy.
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