Columella And Varro

The plant's introduction into England was about 1548, or perhaps a

little earlier, but probably not prior to 1538, because Turner does not

mention it in his "Libellus," published in that year. It seems to have

grown rapidly in popularity, for in 1586 Lyte speaks of it as if well

known. In America it has been cultivated somewhat for about a century

partly because of its fragrant leaves which are employed in bouquets,

mainly for flavoring culinary concoctions. In Australia it is also

more or less grown, and in countries where French commerce or other

interests have penetrated it is well known.

There are several related species which, in America less than in Europe

or the East, have attracted attention. The most important of these is

dwarf or bush basil (O. minimum, Linn.), a small Chilian species also

reported from Cochin China. It was introduced into cultivation in Europe

in 1573. On account of its compact form it is popular in gardens as an

edging as well as a culinary herb, for more than a century it has been

grown in America. Sacred basil (O. sanctum), an oriental species, is

cultivated near temples in India and its odoriferous oil extracted for

religious uses. Formerly the common species was considered sacred by the