Basilicum polystachyon (L.) Moench

Last updated: 15 April 2015

Scientific Name

Basilicum polystachyon (L.) Moench


Lehmannia ocymoidea Jacq. ex Steud., Lumnitzera polystachyon (L.) J.Jacq. ex Spreng., Moschosma dimidiatum (Schumach. & Thonn.) Benth., Moschosma polystachyon (L.) Benth., Ocimum dimidiatum Schumach. & Thonn., Ocimum moschatum Salisb. [Illegitimate], Ocimum polystachyon L., Ocimum tashiroi Hayata, Perxo polystachyon (L.) Raf., Plectranthus micranthus Spreng., Plectranthus parviflorus R.Br. [Illegitimate] [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Tapua jatten [2], kasturi [5]
English Musk basil [2], polysyachyon basilicum [3]
China Xiao guan xun [3][4]
Indonesia Sangketan (Javanese); surawung gunung (Sundanese)[2]; sangket [5]
Philippines Pansi-pansi (Tagalog); bauing (Magindanao); lodokong (Pangasinan) [2]; loktokong [4]
Vietnam [es] gi[ar], [es] s[aj], m[ooj]c ma [2]
France Basilic musque [2][4]

Geographical Distributions

Basilicum polystachyon is distributed tropical Africa through India, the Mascarenes and Sri Lanka to South-East Asia and tropical Australia. [2]

This plant grows as a weed in open waste places, usually in humid soils, such as fallow rice fields, along streams and swampy grasslands. It has a preference for seasonal climatic conditions, therefore in Java it is largely confined to the drier regions, from 0-600 m altitude, and it is scarce in most of Sumatra, Borneo and the Malaysian Peninsula. [2]

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Botanical Description

B. polystachyon is a member of the family Lamiaceae [1]. This is an erect, annual to short-lived perennial, aromatic herb that can reach a height of between 40-100 cm [2].

The stem is much branched, prominently 4-angled and nearly smooth. [2]

The leaves are decussate, ovate to oblong-ovate which size 2-6 cm x 1-3.5 cm. At the base is acute or attenuate while the apex is acuminate or caudate. Its margins are toothed like a saw, thin-membranaceous, hairless on both of the surfaces or minutely gland-dotted underneath. The leaf stalk is slender, about 1-4 cm long and its stipules is absent. [2]

The inflorescence is consisting of cymes, together resembling a terminal or axil, slender raceme or panicle is 3-6 cm long.  The petal is funnel-shaped of about 2-2.5 mm long and the tube is 1.8 mm long. The 2-lipped petals, of which the upper lip is broad, entire, reflexed while the lower lip is 3-lobed and 2 lateral teeth cuspidate with a few short hairs outside. It is pale lilac, purple or flesh-coloured but sometimes white. There are 4 stamens that consist of stamens in two pairs, two long and two short ones. Its filaments are inserted on the petal tube, hairless, anthers 1-celled; disk symmetrical. The ovary at superior, hairless, style with short and has 2-lobed stigma. [2]

The fruit is covered with 1-2 mm long lance-shaped bracts and its make it look over 10 cm long. The fruit is 3-3.5 m long, inflated at the base and has 5 short teeth with the distal one broad, obtuse, abruptly acuminate while the other 4 are much smaller. They are triangular, acute and pubescent. Fruit consisting of 4 dry with 1-seeded schizocarpous nutlets, broadly ellipsoid and compressed. [2]

The seed size about 0.5 mm long, smooth and dull brown. [2]

The seedling is with epigeal germination. Cotyledons are with the leaf stalk, blade broadly ovate, base obtuse, apex has notch at the extremity, margin with sparse minute bristles; hypocotyl is elongate, bristly in rows. The epicotyl is up to 1 mm long with 4-angular and bristly. The first leaf arrangement is opposite and it is in egg-shaped form while the base is obtuse to heart-shaped. The apex is rounded and the margin is toothed with the pointed teeth directed outwards or notched with blunt or rounded teeth together with dense bristles. The leaves also have a stalk. [2]


B. polystachyon is flowering throughout the year. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. polystachyon (L.) Moench [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Basilicum polystachyon (L.) Moench [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Apr 15]. Available from:
  2. Wardani M. Basilicum polystachyon (L.) Moench. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; 2001. p. 107-108.
  3. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999. p. 272.
  4. Philippines medicinal plants. Loktokong. Moschosma polystachyum (Linn.) Benth. [homepage on the Internet] c2014. [updated 2014 Mar; cited 2015 Apr 16] Available from
  5. Herbal Medicine research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC-IMR; 2002. p.104.