6010- Sweet basil Ocimum basilicum. 601- Basil, sweet. A native to Europe and cultivated for centuries as a fresh and dried culinary herb. Common in America by the late 1700s. The plants grow to about 18 inches, and provide several harvests.The leaves are used fresh to make pesto, and can be dried and used as a seasoning. A favorite of ours in Italian dishes.Prefer well-drained soil, even moisture, and full sun. Annual.