Basil, the name given to several aromatic annual plants of the mint family. The most common is sweet basil, which is cultivated extensively for use in cooking.
The plant reaches a height of about two feet (60 cm). Its small, purplish flowers grow on branching spikes. The leaves are oval or oblong. Basil can be grown in warm to temperate regions throughout the world.
Sweet basil is Ocimum basilicum of the family Labiatae.