Lemon Basil (Ocimum Citriodorum), with its tiny pointed leaves, features a citrus tang and lemon scent popularly used in Southeast Asia and North Africa.
Lemon basil is a fragrant and sweet hybrid variety that is a cross of sweet basil (O. basilicum) and limehairy or hoary basil (O. Americanum). The herb was first introduced to the United States from Thailand in 1940. A typical plant will grow to be about 8 to 15 inches tall and have narrow, bright green leaves that are slightly hairy.
The herb offers a unique lemon flavor that is commonly used in dishes in countries all over Asia including Indonesia, Thailand, and Laos. In Thailand, lemon basil is most often added to wet dishes such as curries.
Many dishes can be enhanced by using lemon basil including salads, fish, and chicken. The fragrant leaves can also be used to enhance the flavor of teas, iced drinks, and even potpourri.
One of the most commonly grown types of lemon basil is Sweet Dani, with its small green and pale leaves high in oils and citrus flavor.