Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wild Basil

How do you know when you’ve seen the last bloom of the year? Natural variations cause individual plants to develop at slightly different rates. The majority of the plants will bloom within what we have determined to be the normal blooming period. A few will bloom earlier or later than expected. Here is a Wild Basil, Satureja vulgaris, blooming now when it should have stopped almost two months ago.

The plants are doing wonderfully in the partial shade of this cedar thicket. Aside from the mosses, this is about the only green plant in the area now.

Most of the flower clusters now look like this. This stage might even be more attractive with the contrast between the soft looking hairs and the dagger like calyx lobes.

The leaves are still in pretty good shape, although there is some browning of the tips. They’ve been through some below freezing temperatures, but the cedar canopy spares them the hardship of frost.

This is a hairy plant and the stem is very fuzzy. Thick hairs on a plant often deter predation by certain insects. The hairs may represent a physical barrier that insects can’t penetrate or the insects may be like me and prefer to bite into the smooth skinned nectarine instead of the fuzzy peach.


  1. ...I didn't know that was wild basil. I have so much to learn about plants. I enjoyed the grape vine post as well. I always love seeing those huge vines hanging in the trees!

  2. Fuzzy basil, hmmmm... that would feel odd on the tongue. Is it even edible to humans? I like you nectarine/peach analogy. Myself, I prefer peaches to nectarines, so I wonder what I would think of this fuzzy leaf?

  3. I haven't seen anything indicating that this basil is actually eaten by people. Even if it was edible, it's probably too fuzzy for me.