Photos: Bramley, G.


VII. Subfam. Nepetoideae (Dumort.) Luerss. (1882).

VII. 3. Tribe Ocimeae Dumort. (1829).

VII. 3. D. Subtribe Ociminae (Dumort.) Schmidt in Martius (1858).

Subtribe Moschominae Endlicher (1838).


Shrubs or herbs, often geoxylic, usually aromatic; leaves simple; inflorescence thyrsoid with cymes sessile, usually 3-flowered; bracts very rarely coloured, persistent or if caducous bract-scar developing into auxiliary nectary; calyx infundibular to tubular, straight, curving upwards or rarely bent downwards, strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (1/4), lobes unequal, posterior rounded, decurrent, curving upwards, lateral teeth deltoid, sometimes with a prominent shoulder or truncate, anterior lobes deltoid to subulate, sometimes closing the often densely hairy calyx throat; corolla strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (4/1), white or pink, posterior lip ascending, equally 4-lobed or with median exceeding lateral lobes, entire or fimbriate, anterior lip ± horizontal, flat or slightly concave, corolla-tube straight or curved towards base, usually dorsally gibbous at midpoint, often dilating towards throat; stamens 4, posterior pair attached near corolla base, rarely sterile, exserted, filaments usually pubescent at base, often appendiculate, anterior pair attached at corolla throat; stigma-lobes equal, subulate; disc equally 4-lobed; nutlets spherical to ellipsoid, rarely apically pubescent usually mucilaginous.  2n = 24-76, 88.  Sixty-five species, pantropical, mostly in Africa, in drier areas, grassland and open woodland.  Several species, especially O. basilicum L. and O. tenuiflorum L., cultivated as potherbs, for medicinal use and ritual.  Some species are used as indicators of heavy metals. Subgenus Nautochilus (Bremek.) Paton may require recognition at generic rank.


Native to:

20 Northern Africa
21 Macaronesia
22 West Tropical Africa
23 West-Central Tropical Africa
24 Northeast Tropical Africa
25 East Tropical Africa
26 South Tropical Africa
27 Southern Africa
29 Western Indian Ocean
34 Western Asia
35 Arabian Peninsula
36 China
38 Eastern Asia
40 Indian Subcontinent
41 Indo-China
42 Malesia
43 Papuasia
50 Australia
60 Southwestern Pacific
62 Northwestern Pacific
78 Southeastern U.S.A.
79 Mexico
80 Central America
81 Caribbean
82 Northern South America
83 Western South America
84 Brazil
85 Southern South America

Introduced to:

14 Eastern Europe
61 South-Central Pacific
63 North-Central Pacific


Becium Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 28: t. 42 (1842).

Erythrochlamys Gürke, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 19: 222 (1894).

Hyperaspis Briq., Bull. Herb. Boissier, II, 3: 975 (1903).

Nautochilus Bremek., Ann. Transvaal Mus. 15: 252 (1933).


Ocimum L., Sp. Pl. 2: 597 (1753); Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 259 (1754); Paton, Harley & Harley in Holm & Hiltunen (eds.). Ocimum. Medicinal and Aromatic plants - industrial profiles: 1-38 (1999), Harwood Academic, Amsterdam, rev.

Orthosiphon sect. Serrati Ashby (1938).

Orthosiphon subgenus Nautochilus (Brem.) L.E.Codd (1964).


Species found in RBG Kew living collections

1996-917 Ocimum X citriodorum Vis. N PTTT  F JOD SEED 
1997-5921 Ocimum X citriodorum Vis.  DARW  F JOD SEED 
1998-2105 Ocimum americanum L. 'Sacred'  PATO  F JOD SEED T3
1996-914 Ocimum americanum L. var. pilosum (Willd.) A.J.Paton N PREH 392 F JOD SEED T3
1994-2652 Ocimum basilicum L.     111  
1997-4823 Ocimum basilicum L.     JOD SEED T3
1998-1609 Ocimum basilicum L.  CHIS   TRO_N SEED 
1997-5920 Ocimum basilicum L.  DARW  F JOD SEED 
1998-2104 Ocimum citriodorum  PATO   JOD T3 
2007-1540 Ocimum citriodorum  ETTT   111  
1998-2107 Ocimum citriodorum  x americanum 'Sacred'  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2110 Ocimum citriodorum  x americanum 'Sacred'  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2100 Ocimum citriodorum x citriodorum  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2103 Ocimum citriodorum x citriodorum  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2115 Ocimum citriodorum x citriodorum  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2116 Ocimum citriodorum x citriodorum  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2119 Ocimum citriodorum x kilimandscharicum  PATO   JOD SEED 
1977-1387 Ocimum gratissimum L. N HASX  F JOD SEED 
1996-1455 Ocimum gratissimum L. N GMMW 4063 F JOD SEED T3
1993-1040 Ocimum gratissimum L. var. gratissimum N HARY  F JOD SEED 
1996-916 Ocimum kilimandscharicum Gurke N SOSN  F JOD T3 BENCH3
1995-3474 Ocimum minimum L.  NYRC  F JOD SEED 
1998-2096 Ocimum minimum L.  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2097 Ocimum minimum L.  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2098 Ocimum minimum x difformis  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2099 Ocimum minimum x difformis  PATO   JOD SEED 
1998-2117 Ocimum minimum x difformis  PATO   JOD SEED 
1987-2003 Ocimum selloi Benth. N SOLO 9897 F JOD T3 FLOOR
1995-3473 Ocimum tenuiflorum L.  NYRC  F JOD SEED 
1997-5922 Ocimum tenuiflorum L.  DARW  F JOD SEED T3

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