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Wild Basil

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 Wild Basil
Clinopodium vulgare

Other Names:  Cushion Calamint
Distribution:  Native perennial of hedgerows and scrub.  It is common in England and Wales but becoming rarer in Scotland and Ireland.
Habitat:  grassland, scrub, hedgerows and edge of woodland; dry, alkaline soils; sunny site.
Description:  height 60cm; hairy, slightly aromatic leaves; pale, purply pink flowers between July and September.
Uses:  In ancient times, wild basil was believed to have the power to repel serpents.  In mediaeval times, basil was mixed with the rushes that were strewn on the floors.  It was included in posies by officials to protect themselves from unpleasant smells and the diseases they believed were carried by them.  It has been used in medicine and cookery - it smells faintly like thyme, especially when bruised.
Wildlife:  It is very attractive to butterflies which seek the nectar in its flowers.

Sowing Instructions for Seeds:  Easy!  Sow seed in spring in a greenhouse or cold frame. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots.  Plant the seedlings out into their final position in summer.

Our plants and seeds are of native British origin.