Lime Basil (Melissa officinalis) is one of the most popular herbs used in cooking today. Its flavor is very similar to parsley, but it’s milder. It’s easy to grow and requires little attention. The leaves are green or purple with white margins and they have a slightly bitter taste when crushed. They’re not poisonous, so don’t worry if you eat them raw!
Lime Basil Plant Facts:
Scientific Name : Melissa Officinalis Family : Rosaceae Origin : Asia Color : Green Leaves Size : 1 inch to 2 inches Height: 3/4 inch to ¾ inch Bloom Time: Spring Flowering Season: Summer Fruit Type: Nuts, Seeds & Berries Leaf Type: Evergreen Height / Spread (Plant): 6 feet / 1.2 meters Bloom Time / Harvest: Early Spring / Late Summer Foliage Color: Purple / White Flowers: Yellow / Orange
Lime Basil Uses For Cooking:
In addition to its culinary uses, lime basil is also known for its medicinal properties. It helps relieve pain and inflammation caused by various conditions such as arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, coughs and colds. It’s also helpful in treating diarrhea and stomach ulcers. It is sometimes used for headaches, PMS and menopause.
The type of basil most commonly used in cooking is sweet basil. This herb has a peppery taste and an aroma that is much like cloves. It’s often used in tomato-based sauces and soups, especially Italian food. Sweet basil can also be used in salads, vinegars, oils, butters and ointments.
Other less-common types of basil that you may find growing or for sale are as follows:
Lemon basil has leaves with a light green colour and large quantities of vitamin C. It is also known for its scent, which is like a combination of apples and lemons.
Spice basil has the same flavour as the more common sweet basil, but it is much stronger. It has purple flowers with green foliage.
Pesto basil is the main ingredient in the Italian dish, “pesto”. It has a unique spicy scent and flavour that is very different from other types of basil. Pesto is used to make a sauce for pasta and vegetables.
Holy basil, also known as “tulsi,” is a sacred plant in India where it is worshipped as a goddess. The leaves are often chewed or used in tea as a remedy for many health conditions.
Genovese basil has dark green, wrinkly leaves and is the type of basil most often used in cooking. It has a sweet, spicy scent and flavour.
Siam queen basil has purplish flowers. Its leaves are used in Thai cooking and have a spicy, peppery taste.
Lime Basil Care:
Lime basil prefers to grow in moist soil with full sun exposure. It can also grow in partial shade, but it won’t flower or grow as well. It’s best not to over-water or over-fertilize this herb because it is prone to root rot. If your soil is dry, water it a little and wait for the soil to dry out again before watering it again.
Fertilize it once during the growing season with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Lime basil can be grown from seed, but it grows best from cuttings. Take 4- to 6-inch cuttings from a healthy plant in the springtime. Be sure the cutting has at least 2 nodes in which to take root. Soak the cuttings in water for an hour before planting.
Plant them in a propagating container or directly into the garden. Keep the soil moist and wait 3 to 6 weeks for it to grow roots.
Harvest the leaves when it is 4 to 6 inches tall. Snip the leaves off with pruning shears. The plant will grow back, but it will weaken the plant if you harvest too much. If you don’t want to harvest the whole plant, just pick a few leaves here and there.
It will grow more leaves and grow fuller. It will also keep the plant from going to seed if you harvest some of the leaves here and there.
Sources & references used in this article:
Ocimum sp. (Basil): Botany, Cultivation, Pharmaceutical Properties, and Biotechnology by O Makri, S Kintzios – Journal of herbs, spices & medicinal plants, 2008 – Taylor & Francis
Effects of Soil Application of Amino Acids, Ammonium, and Nitrate on Nutrient Accumulation and Growth Characteristics of Sweet Basil by Y Aghaye Noroozlo, MK Souri… – … in Soil Science and Plant …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis
Journey to Asia–with Herbs by T Basil – search.informit.com.au
Basil cultivar identification using chemotyping still favored over genotyping using core barcodes and possible resources of antioxidants by HO Elansary, EA Mahmoud – Journal of Essential Oil Research, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
Effect of Hexane and Ethanol Extracts of Ten Basil Genotypes on the Growth of Selected Bacterial Strains by S Tabassum, F Amin, S Erum… – … of Agriculture and …, 2016 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
Review of endocrine-disrupting-compound removal technologies in water and wastewater treatment plants: An EU perspective by T Basile, A Petrella, M Petrella… – Industrial & …, 2011 – ACS Publications
Effect of Poultry Manure on Yield and Nutrient Composition of Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) by G Yaldız, M Çamlıca, F Özen… – … in soil science and plant …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis
What Can I Do with My Herbs?: How to Grow, Use, and Enjoy These Versatile Plants by J Barrett – 2009 – books.google.com
Kaffir Lime Leaf (Citrus hystric DC.) Drying Using Tray and Heat Pump Dehumidified Drying by S Phoungchandang, W Srinukroh… – Drying Technology, 2008 – Taylor & Francis