Basil, Ocimum basilicum, is a short lived annual or perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae grown for its leaves which are used as a herb. The basil plant grows from a thick taproot and has silky green opposite (paired) oval leaves which grow to be 3–11 cm (1.2–4.3 in) long and 1–6 cm (0.4–2.4 in), branching out from the central stem. The plant produces small white flowers which are clustered on a single spike at the top of the plant. Basil plants are often grown as annuals but may survive for several seasons with some care and can reach heights between 30 and 130 cm (11.8 and 51.2 in) depending on the variety. Basil may also be referred to as sweet basil, St. Joseph's wort, thai basil, lemon basil or holy basil depending on the variety and is native to India and other tropical regions of Asia.
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