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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of semishrubs or shrubs of the Labiatae family. There are approximately 150 species growing wild in subtropical and tropical countries. In temperate climate regions some species are cultivated as annual crops for their essential oils.

East Indian basil (Ocimum menthalefolium × O gratissimum) is a semishrub that is 70–100 cm tall and has branching fibrous roots, large ovate-lanceolate leaves with pubescent undersides, and spicate inflorescences at the ends of the main stem and lateral shoots. It is cultivated in the Georgian SSR and the southern parts of Krasnodar Krai. The herbage yield is 40–80 centners per hectare. The essential oil content is 0.3 percent, and there is up to 70 percent eugenol. The oil and eugenol are used in the perfume and food industries, for obtaining vanillin, and in medicine. The methods of cultivating the plant are the usual ones for tilled crops. Manure should be applied in the autumn in quantities of 20–40 tons per hectare (on poor soils) as well as phosphorus and potassium fertilizers; in the spring, during pre-sowing cultivation, nitrogen fertilizers should be applied. After the danger of frost has passed, the Ocimum seedlings, raised in hotbeds or greenhouses, are transplanted in the soil in either square clusters (70 × 70 cm or 60 × 60 cm) or in wide rows (60 x 30 cm). During the period of growth and development, the plantings are nourished twice with ammonium nitrate in quantities of 200 kg per hectare, with 150 kg per hectare of superphosphate added to the second feeding, and are hoed and weeded. The herbage is harvested when the seeds mature and the bracts turn brown and is then processed immediately.

Sweet basil (O. basilicum) is grown in small areas, primarily in the southern European parts of the USSR. It is used as a spice, in confectionery production, and in the preparation of liqueurs.


Nesterenko, P. A., and T. I. Knishevetskaia. Evgenol’nyi bazilik (Ocimum gratissimum L.). Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Efiromaslichnye kul’tury. Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.