Ocimum gratissimum, also known as clove basil, African basil and in Hawaii as wild basil, is a species of Ocimum. It is native to Africa, Madagascar, southern Asia, and the Bismarck Archipelago, and naturalized in Polynesia, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama, West Indies, Brazil, and Bolivia.
The genus Ocimum (family: Lamiaceae), collectively called basil, consists of about 160 species, and is spread over the tropical, sub-tropical and warmer part of the temperate regions of both the hemispheres ranging from sea level to 1800 ft altitude. Spice basil (O. gratissimum L.), perennial and drought tolerant, is one of the important basil types and is cultivated in many Asian and Mediterranean countries and the United States. It is cultivated in about 2000 hectares in the northern and southern parts of India.