Basil 'Lesbos' aka 'Greek Columnar'

True basils are members of the genus Ocimum of the mint family. This particular one is a hybrid that originated in ancient times in areas of what we now call Kenya. Taxonomically it has such a tortured history of synonyms I’m not even going there. Suffice to say the Greeks discovered it in Alexandrian times and it became so popular in Greece over time it became known as ‘Lesbos’ and later ‘Greek Columnar Basil’.

Here’s a picture of our plant in August 2017 showing some details of leaf shape and growth habit.


Yesterday I was looking around in our office, found some extra round-to-its and decided to go out and prune the Greek Columnar Basil plant. I gave it a flat-top at 30" height and also removed branches falling on top of other herbs in the bed. The cuttings ended up overflowing a 16" cube box.

I brought them inside where Janet and I peeled leaves off of branches for the better part of an hour. After filling a bucket with about 3 gallons of leaves we’d had enough fun. The box of cuttings was still 3/4 full and is probably going out in the greenery barrels tomorrow. :laughing:

Today I ran the 3 gallons of leaves through our Champion Juicer/Reamer. I added a few drops of grapeseed oil every 12 or so handfuls to keep things running smoothly. After about an hour finished the batch and had 2 cups of extract, plus a little oil and tiny fibers that made it through the juicer screen. This was enough to fill 1 ice cube tray for use later on, a 1/2 cup snaplock container for use later in the week(s), and about 3 tbsp for pasta I’m making tonight. :yum:


The plant looks kinda woody. Is that a perennial there?

How would you compare the tastes of Greek Columnar with regular Genovese and maybe Africa Blue Basil?

Yes, for perhaps a dozen years.

It tastes like Genovese but with a little black pepper added, but nowhere near the peppery and pungent taste of African Blue. I prefer it to Genovese.