The Australian native basil, aka Plectranthus graveolens, is also called bush basil, native coleus or sticky cockspur. The shrub grows up to 1.5 m with a width of about 2m and bears violet tube-like flowers in December to April (under the Sydney climate). The leaves have a dented margin and both sides are covered in a dense coating of fine silky hairs and soft.
The native basil is native to rocky mountain and rainforest terrains from the South East part of New South Wales.
The leaves are used fresh or dried and can be harvest all-year-round.
Despite its name, the Australian native basil does not taste like the common basil as it is more related to mint. It used to be called “the five spice plant” by the early settlers as it gives a beautiful fragrant mix of dried sage, mint and oregano.
The Australian native basil contains vitamins A & C. It was traditionally used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes by first Nation people.