Baffled by Basil

My Thai basil is freaking out.

It has, in my experience, grown to gargantuan proportions.  I finally had to trim it back today, as it was shading the sweet basil, oregano, and sage.  Not only are the plants themselves laden with countless individual leaves, but the largest, when flattened, are near six inches long and four wide.  The problem is, they look NOTHING like typical Thai “sweet basil” (bai horapha) with its purplish stem and smaller, flatter, more pointed leaves.  (I grew “Queen of Siam” this summer and the plants were completely different from the ones I am growing now.) 

There are primarily three kinds of basil used in Thai cooking - the aforementioned bai horapha, bai kaprow also known as Thai “holy basil,” and Thai “lemon basil” or bai maeng-lak – none of which look anything like the mutant monsters in my kitchen.
These particular seeds came with my AeroGarden custom seed pod kit, so I am clueless as to the cultivar I am cultivating.  I know many plants send out two large cotyledon first (the so-called seed leaves and the first to pop out of the embryo - most evident on legumes) but my plants have dozens of the fan sized flora up and down the stem.  I almost think I am growing imposters, but they do have the wonderful fragrance and distinctive anise-like flavor – albeit noticeably milder than the traditional Thai basil I have come to love. 

I’m so confused – now I’m freaking out.  But…it’s not going to stop me from using my basil bounty – Thai or not – when I make Pattaya Shrimp tonight. 

I still think I might call the company.

To be continued…

1 comment:

  1. They're absolutely beautiful. I brought some seeds from old country, hopefully will not have any issues to grow like yours here...