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Wild Basil

Clinopodium vulgare

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
75 centimetres tall
Grassland, heathland, hedgerows, sand dunes, scrub, wasteland.

Purple, 2 petals
The flowers bloom in exquisite shades of purples and pinks, adding a touch of natural elegance to the British countryside. Delicately arranged in clusters, these dainty blossoms possess a sweet, aromatic fragrance that wafts through the air, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. The petals have a slightly velvety texture, and their charming hues contrast beautifully with the lush green backdrop of meadows and woodland edges. Wild Basil's enchanting flowers are not only a visual delight but also an essential source of nectar for local wildlife, making them a cherished part of the Cotswold's natural heritage.
Wild Basil, native to the picturesque landscapes of the UK, bears small, round fruits that develop after the flowering season in late summer. These diminutive fruits are typically a deep shade of brown or black, resembling tiny nutlets. They're inconspicuous compared to the plant's vibrant flowers but hold significance in the plant's life cycle. These fruits contain the seeds of Wild Basil, essential for its propagation. While they may not be as visually striking as the flowers, these unassuming fruits are an integral part of the plant's reproductive process, contributing to the continued presence of this charming herb in the British countryside.
The leaves of Wild Basil, flourishing in the UK's idyllic countryside, are a distinctive feature of this herbaceous plant. They are typically lance-shaped or oval and are adorned with a fine layer of tiny hairs, giving them a slightly fuzzy appearance. These leaves are aromatic, emitting a fragrance that combines hints of basil and oregano when crushed. The vibrant green foliage stands out amidst meadows and woodland edges, providing a lush backdrop for the plant's elegant flowers. Wild Basil's leaves are not only visually appealing but also serve various purposes, from culinary use to traditional herbal remedies, making them an essential and versatile aspect of this native UK herb.
The aroma of Wild Basil, thriving in the enchanting landscapes of the UK, is a delightful blend of fragrances reminiscent of both basil and oregano. When you gently crush its leaves or run your fingers over them, the plant releases a pleasing and aromatic scent that carries subtle herbal notes with a touch of earthiness. This distinctive fragrance is both invigorating and soothing, making it a cherished aspect of Wild Basil's appeal. It's a scent that can transport you to the heart of the British countryside, evoking a sense of calm and connection with nature.
Other Names:
Common Calamint, Cushion Calamint.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Clinopodium vulgare, also known as common calamint or basil thyme, is a species of flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the mint family and is known for its small, pink or purple flowers and hairy, fragrant leaves. Clinopodium vulgare is a perennial plant that grows up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) tall and has a thin, upright stem. The leaves are oblong in shape and are a bright green color, with a hairy, glandular surface. The plant produces small, pink or purple flowers that are shaped like a funnel and are arranged in clusters. Clinopodium vulgare is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and along roadsides. It is a popular garden plant and is known for its medicinal properties, with the plant being used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Wild Basil: An Overview of Clinopodium vulgare

Wild basil, also known as Clinopodium vulgare, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. It is native to Europe and Asia and has been naturalized in North America and other regions. Wild basil is known for its fragrant leaves, which are used in cooking and for medicinal purposes.

Culinary Use

Wild basil is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, particularly in Italian and French dishes. Its leaves have a strong, pungent flavor that is similar to sweet basil but with a hint of mint. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and are often added to soups, sauces, and salads. Wild basil is also used to make pesto, a popular sauce made from basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

Medicinal Properties

In addition to its culinary uses, wild basil has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Its leaves contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antimicrobial properties. Wild basil is commonly used to treat digestive issues, such as indigestion and nausea. It is also used to relieve menstrual cramps and headaches.


Wild basil is easy to grow and is often cultivated in herb gardens. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and should be watered regularly. Wild basil is a fast-growing plant and can become invasive if not properly maintained. To keep it under control, it is recommended to prune the plant regularly and remove any dead leaves.


Wild basil is a versatile plant that is valued for its flavorful leaves and medicinal properties. Whether used in cooking or for medicinal purposes, wild basil is a valuable addition to any herb garden. With proper care and maintenance, this hardy plant can provide a bounty of fragrant leaves for many years to come.


Wild basil, also known as Clinopodium vulgare, is a wild herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the mint family and is commonly used in cooking and as a medicinal herb.

Wild basil is an annual or biennial plant that can grow up to 60 cm tall. It has square stems, green leaves, and small white or pink flowers that bloom from July to September. The leaves are fragrant and have a slightly bitter taste.

Wild basil is often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a popular ingredient in sauces, soups, and salads. It can also be used to flavor vinegars, oils, and marinades. The leaves can be used fresh or dried and are often added to dishes just before serving to preserve their flavor.

Wild basil has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin conditions.

Wild basil is easy to grow and can be grown in a garden or in pots. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun. It should be watered regularly and can be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer. It is also important to deadhead the flowers to encourage new growth and prevent the plant from going to seed.

Wild basil is a very hardy plant that is highly adaptable to different growing conditions. It can be found growing in a variety of habitats, from meadows and fields to rocky outcroppings and along roadsides. It is also known for its ability to attract beneficial insects, including bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, making it an excellent addition to any garden with a focus on wildlife conservation.

The plant is also drought-tolerant and can survive in areas with low rainfall, making it an ideal choice for xeriscaping and water conservation efforts. Wild basil is also low maintenance and does not require regular pruning or staking, making it a great choice for gardeners with busy schedules.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, wild basil is also a popular ornamental plant. Its delicate white or pink flowers make it a beautiful addition to flower gardens, rock gardens, and borders. The plant is also attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, making it an excellent choice for bird and butterfly gardens.

In traditional medicine, wild basil has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including indigestion, colds, coughs, and fever. It is believed to have antiseptic properties and has been used to treat wounds and skin infections. Some cultures have also used wild basil as an insect repellent, as the strong scent is thought to be unpleasant to many pests.

In conclusion, wild basil is a versatile and hardy herb that is highly adaptable to different growing conditions. Whether you are looking for a plant for your kitchen, medicine cabinet, or garden, wild basil is a great choice. With its delicious flavor, medicinal properties, and ornamental value, it is a plant that should be included in every gardener's collection.

30 Wild Basil Facts

Here are 30 interesting facts about Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare):

  1. Wild Basil is a native herbaceous plant found in Europe, including the Cotswolds region.
  2. It is known by various names, including "Clinopodium vulgare," "Common Basil," and "Wild Marjoram."
  3. Wild Basil belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae, which is famous for aromatic plants.
  4. The plant typically grows to a height of 20-60 cm (8-24 inches).
  5. It thrives in a variety of habitats, from meadows and grasslands to woodland edges and hedgerows.
  6. Wild Basil blooms from late spring to early autumn, producing beautiful purple or pinkish flowers.
  7. Its leaves are aromatic, with a scent reminiscent of both basil and oregano.
  8. Wild Basil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits.
  9. It is a rich source of essential oils, including thymol and carvacrol, known for their medicinal properties.
  10. The leaves and flowers of Wild Basil can be used to make herbal teas, which are believed to aid digestion and soothe sore throats.
  11. Bees and butterflies are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Wild Basil, making it an essential plant for pollinators.
  12. In folklore, Wild Basil was often associated with love and protection.
  13. It has a long history of use in various European cuisines as a seasoning for soups and stews.
  14. Wild Basil leaves can be dried and used as a flavorful herb in cooking.
  15. This plant has also been used as a natural insect repellent due to its aromatic properties.
  16. Wild Basil can vary in color, with some specimens having darker or lighter shades of purple or pink.
  17. It's considered a hardy and adaptable plant, capable of growing in both sunny and partially shaded areas.
  18. The leaves of Wild Basil are often used to make aromatic oils and perfumes.
  19. The scientific name "Clinopodium vulgare" is derived from the Greek words "kleinos" (sloping) and "pous" (foot), referring to the plant's growth habit.
  20. Wild Basil is an excellent addition to a wildlife garden, attracting beneficial insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps.
  21. It has a rich cultural history and has been used in various rituals and traditions.
  22. Some people use Wild Basil as a natural remedy for headaches and anxiety.
  23. The plant's leaves can vary in shape, from oval to lance-shaped, and are covered in tiny hairs.
  24. It's closely related to other culinary herbs like oregano and marjoram.
  25. Wild Basil is a hardy perennial plant, meaning it can return year after year if well-maintained.
  26. In some cultures, it's believed that Wild Basil can protect against evil spirits.
  27. It's a key ingredient in traditional European liqueurs and spirits.
  28. The aromatic oils in Wild Basil are concentrated in its glands, which give the plant its characteristic scent.
  29. The leaves of Wild Basil are used in some traditional European dishes like stuffing for meats.
  30. Wild Basil is an important part of biodiversity conservation efforts, as it provides food and habitat for various wildlife species.


Wild Basil filmed in the following locations:
  • Daneway Banks, Gloucestershire: 27th June 2023
  • Leckhampton Hill, Gloucestershire: 29th June 2023

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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