Ocimum americanum, known as American basil or "hoary basil", is an annual herb with white or lavender flowers. It is used for medicinal purposes. Despite the misleading name, it is native to Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, China, and Southeast Asia.
Ocimum americanum is an erect, perennial, aromatic plant usually growing 20 - 30cm tall with some specimens up to 100cm. The plant is often grown as an annual, especially in cooler climates. The aromatic leaves are used as a flavouring in a range of foods, whilst a cooling drink can be made from the seeds. The plant is gathered from the wild and also often cultivated. In the wild, this basil can be found on roadsides, in fields, in teak forests, and in open waste places, preferring sunny, wind-sheltered spots. It is found at elevations from sea level, usually to 500 metres but occasionally to 2,000 metres.