Ocimum gratissimum L.

Last updated: 13 July 2015

Scientific Name

Ocimum gratissimum L.


Geniosporum discolor Baker, Ocimum anosurum Fenzl [Invalid], Ocimum arborescens Bojer ex Benth., Ocimum caillei A.Chev. [Invalid], Ocimum dalabaense A.Chev., Ocimum febrifugum Lindl., Ocimum frutescens Mill. [Illegitimate], Ocimum guineense Schumach. & Thonn., Ocimum heptodon P.Beauv., Ocimum holosericeum J.F.Gmel., Ocimum paniculatum Bojer [Invalid], Ocimum petiolare Lam., Ocimum robustum B.Heyne ex Hook.f., Ocimum sericeum Medik., Ocimum suave Willd., Ocimum trichodon Baker ex Gürke, Ocimum urticifolium Roth, Ocimum villosum Weinm. [Illegitimate], Ocimum viride Willd., Ocimum viridiflorum Roth. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Selaseh besar, ruku-ruku hitam, selasih [2][3]
English Shrubby basil, east Indian basil, Russian basil, large basil, lemon basil [2][3]
India Acakantikam, acchakuon, ajagandhika, ajaka, ajavala, ajeka, alarutanmatu, bana tulasi, banjari, biliya kargoli, doshakleshi, ekapattitrikai, elumiccam tulaci, faranjmishk, kaadu thulasi, kattutrittavu, lavanga thulasi, mataralaki, nidralu, nimbe tulasi, perundu lachi, raama thulsi pacha, ran tulsi, shophahari, sumukha, ventulaci, vitappakam [3]
Indonesia Kemangi hutan, ruku-ruku rimba (Sumatra); selaseh mekah [2][3]
Thailand Kaphrao-chang, horapha-chang, yira, ho-ra-pha chang, yee-raa [2][3]
Cambodia Ling leak kranam [2][3]
Vietnam H[uw][ow]ng nhu tr[aws]ng, [es]l[as] l[ows]n [2]
Kenya Anchabbi, chesimia, ichoke, lmurran, loguru, mrumbawassi, mugio, mukandu, olemoran, olulururuecha, vumba, manga [3]
West Africa E bonto, kumwi ti bush [3]
Congo Bosinea, masinea [3]
France Mentha gabonaise [2]

Geographical Distributions

Ocimum gratissimum is found throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, both wild and cultivated. Its greatest variability occurs in tropical Africa (from where it possibly originates) and India. In South-East Asia it is cultivated mainly as a home garden crop, only in Vietnam is it grown on a commercial scale as well. [2]

In its native area O. gratissimum occurs from sea-level up to 1500 m altitude in coastal scrub, along lake shores, in savanna vegetation, in submontane forest, and disturbed land. In South-East Asia it is not frequently found in open locations like roadsides and clearings, but more often cultivated as a hedge plant, up to about 300 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

O. gratissimum is a member of the Labiatae family. This aromatic, perennial herb is about 1-3 m tall with an erect stem, round-quadrangular and much- branched which are smooth or hairy. It is woody at the base, often with epidermis peeling in strips. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite. The stalk is 2-4.5 cm long, slender and hairy. The blade is elliptical to egg-shaped, size between 1.5-16 cm x 1-8.5 cm, thin and semi-transparent. Its base is triangular and entire, and they sometimes have glandular translucent gland. The other parts of its margin are coarsely crenate-serrate, apex acute, covered with down hairs or hairy. [2]

The inflorescence is arranged in a terminal with simple or 5-30 cm long branched raceme. The leaflet is lax and softly hairy. Flower stalk is acuminate, sessile, egg-shaped size 3-12 mm x 1-7 mm, 1-4 mm long, spreading or ascending and slightly curved. The flowers are in clusters of 6-10, false whorl, small and hermaphrodite. The sepal is 2-lipped, 2-3 mm long, in fruit 5-6 mm and hairy. The upper lip is rounded and bent, abruptly bent in fruit while lower lip is with 4 narrow, pointed teeth. The central pair of teeth is minute and much shorter than the upper lip. The 2-lipped, greenish-white petal is bell-shaped size 3.5-5 mm long and hairy on the outside. The upper lip truncate with 4-fid while lower lip longer, bent, flat and entire. The stamens are 4, bent, in 2 pairs and inserted on the petal tube. Their filaments are distinctly protruding beyond, upper pair with a bearded tooth at the base. The ovary is superior, consisting of 2 fruits, each 2-celled and style 2-fid. [2]

The fruit consisting of 4, dry, 1-seeded little nuts enclosed in the persistent sepal. The lower lip covers the mouth of the fruiting sepal. The little nuts are slightly spherical size 1.5 mm long, wrinkled and brown. The outer wall of ripened fruit does not become mucilaginous in water. [2]


No documentation

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 O. gratissimum. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Ocimum gratissimum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 July 13]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-136923
  2. Sulistiarini D. Ocimum gratissimum L. In: Oyen LPA, Nguyen Xuan Dung, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 19: Essential-oil plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 140-142
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of plant names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 301-302.