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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 597. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: I.C. Hedge
General/Distribution: A mainly tropical genus; some species are commonly grown for their aromatic fragrance, or as culinary or medicinal herbs. Specific limits in many species are far from clear. Only 1 of our species seems to be native, O. americanum.


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Annual or perennial shrubby herbs, strongly and pleasantly aromatic. Stems much branched, with eglandular spreading or retrorse simple hairs. Leaves not divided, shortly petiolate, densely gland-dotted on both surfaces, ovate or ovate-oblong, subentire or crenulate. Inflorescence of terminal and lateral elongated or condensed racemes; verticillasters 6-10-flowered. Bracts clearly different from leaves, small, deciduous. Pedicels terete or flattened, spreading or adpressed to inflorescence/infructescence axis and apically recurved. Calyx ovoid-campanulate, somewhat enlarged and deflexed or not in fruit, 10-nerved, bilabiate; uppermost lobe much broader than others, decurrent on tube; lateral teeth 2, ovate; lower teeth 2, narrow lanceolate-acuminate, upwardly curved in fruit; tube glabrous within or densely villous. Corolla bilabiate; upper lip subequally 4-lobed; lower lip entire, flat, spreading. Stamens 4, exserted, didynamous; thecae unilocular, glabrous. Style bifid. Nutlets finely rugulose, oblong-ellipsoid; apically rounded, glabrous, mucilaginous on wetting.

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1 Calyx tube bearded within; pedicels adpressed to axis in fruit and apically reflexed, flattened (2)
+ Calyx tube glabrous within; pedicels spreading in fruit, terete or more or lessso 3 Ocimum tenuiflorum
2 (1) Corolla 7-9 mm, white to violet; fruiting calyx 5-7.5 mm long 2 Ocimum basilicum
+ Corolla c. 5 mm long, white; fruiting calyx 4-5.5 mm long 1 Ocimum americanum
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