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Basil, also called great basil, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae. Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are many varieties of basil, as well as several related species or hybrids also called basil. The type used commonly as a flavor is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil, lemon basil, and holy basil. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as "African blue basil".


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