Also known as purple-leaf basil, is a variety of the more usual green basil. This variety has dark, purply-red leaves, stems and flowers and is often grown as a decorative garden plant. Like other varieties of basil, opal basil thrives in warm, sunny climates and can be damaged by frost. It needs a rich, damp soil and sheltered position.
Opal basil has the same distinctive clove like smell as green basil and grows into a small, bushy plant ideal for container growing. Encourage the plant to grow into a bushy shape by pinching out the growing tips.
Uses: The oil of basil is extracted on a commercial basis and used in the perfume industry.
Medicinal: Travel sickness can be prevented by drinking a cold infusion of basil leaves before beginning a journey.
Legends: In India basil is sacred to the gods Vishnu and Krishna and is cherished in Hindu homes.