Ocimum Basilicum: Common names are common basil, St. Joseph Wort, sweet basil. Origin: Originally native to India and other tropical regions of NE Asian (Taiwan) and Southwest Asian (Thailand,Vietnam,Cambodia, and Laos. Has been cultivated in these regions for more than 5,000 years. Appearance: A luscious deep green that can be found up to 6 inches in length. Taste: Basil has a strong, pungent often sweet smell and can sometimes taste somewhat like anise.