This low-growing edible perennial spreads by rhizomes and is sometimes referred to as ‘cushion calamint.” Small rose, violet and purple flowers take turns blooming from July-September and are constantly abuzz with a wide variety of visitors. The stems are square and wooly, reducing deer browse.
This plant naturally grows in grasslands and the outer edges of woodlands, more commonly farther north than Ohio. Easily grown from seed, wild basil makes a lovely ground cover for borders or herb gardens. Dead-heading encourages additional blooms.
A fast grower to 6-18”tall and nearly as wide.
Best sited in full sun, but adapts to partial shade.
Prefers average to dry soils, but adapts to marginal to rocky, well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once established.
Like many herbs, the flowers provide nectar to most pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
Medicinal, Edible and Other Uses:
Historically, wild basil has been used as an astringent and an expectorant. In some countries, it is used as an anti-bacterial salve for small wounds or abrasions.
Wild basil can be used in a similar manner as culinary basil, though the flavor is less intense. Can also be made into a tea.
The leaves and stems have been used to create a yellow to brown dye.
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