Basil is also known as Albahaca, St. Joseph's Wort, and Sweet Basil.
It is a tender low-growing herb. It grows to between 20 - 60 cm tall,
with opposite, light green, silky leaves one and a half to five
centimetres long and one to three centimetres broad.
It is a hairy, labiate plant with the stem obtusely quadrangular.
The flowers are labiate which are white in colour, are present in whorls in the axils of the leaves, the calyx with the upper lobe rounded and spreading.
The leaves, grayish-green beneath and dotted with dark oil cells, are opposite, 1 inch long and 1/3 inch broad, stalked and peculiarly smooth, soft and cool to the touch, and if slightly bruised, it exhales a delightful scent of cloves.
There are several varieties, differing in the size, shape, odour and colour of the leaves. The Common Basil has very dark green leaves, the curled-leaved has short spikes of flowers, the narrow-leaved smells like Fennel, another has a scent of citron and another a tarragon scent, one species has leaves of three colours, and another 'studded' leaves.