Basil, Thai Lemon (Organic)

Ocimum africanum.

This refreshing, citrus basil is a different species than its sweet Italian basil cousins, and is essential in certain South and Southeast Asian dishes. Thai Lemon basil is delicious with seafood, or as a more complex flavorful alternative to sweet basil in almost any dish. It is best when added towards the end of cooking. Leaves are smaller and more pinnate, but otherwise it grows similarly to other basil types. We received our seed from villagers at Ban Noong Ta Klong in the Issan region of Thailand, while on a Seed Ambassadors Project trip in 2009. It is very similar to the Penang Lemon basil variety commonly grown throughout Thailand.

Aka, Hoary basil or Lemon basil. Some sources list the lemon basil species as Ocimum x citriodorum or O. citriodorum.  But there seems to be a developing consensus that it should be considered Ocimum africanum or Ocimum x africanumOcimum africanum is a long stabilized interspecific hybrid of O. basilicum and O. americanum. Recent genetic testing has shown that Thai Lemon basil, as well as Temperate Tulsi / Sacred basil, are best classified as this species.


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Geographical Origin

Sow in flats indoors 6 – 8 wks before last frost. Cover seeds with 1/4” of potting mix. Germinates best when soil temp is at least 70˚F. Germination in 7-10 days, seedlings grow slowly at first. To avoid dampening off, do not over-water seedlings. Transplant to 8” spacing in all directions. Requires full sun & high fertility.

Seed Saving

Collect seeds from seed heads that are fully dry. Shell by hand, winnow or screen to clean. Some cross-pollination may occur, isolate from varieties of the same species by 1/4 mile.

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