Flora of the Nilgiris

Family : Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)

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Ocimum tenuiflorum L.

Leaf arrangement

Opposite decussate

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

Elliptic, Oblanceolate

Leaf Apex

Leaf Base


Leaf Margin


Habit : A strong aromatic herb.

Habitat and Distribution : Abundant in fallow fields. Plains from the coast to 900m. India, Sri Lanka, Himalaya, Bangladesh, south west Asia, Burma, China, Thailand, Malaysia, often cultivated.

Indigenous Information : The whole plant is uprooted and used as a fan to drive flies away from the body at a funeral.

Other relevent information : Planted near houses and temples for religious offerings.

Field Tips : Stem 4-angled. Bracts spinous. Calyx purplish.


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English : Sacred Basil
Irula : Nai thulasi
Tamil : Nalla Thulasi


In terminal verticils, white purplish within. Flowering peak during November-January.

Fruit :

A nutlet. Fruiting throughout the year.

All from Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)