Satureja vulgaris L. - Wild Basil


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Satureja vulgaris - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Lamiaceae


Roadsides, pastures, thickets. Upland woods.


Anemone cylindrica, Carya obata, Euonymus atropurpureus, Geranium maculatum, Krigia biflora, Liparis lilifolia, Quercus alba, Toxicodendron radicans, Tilia americana. Asimina triloba, Celtis occidentalis, Erigeron annuus, Galium triflorum, Geum canadense, Lindera benzoin, Morus rubra, Phryma leptostachya, Prunella vulgaris lanceolata, Ulmus rubra.


Newfoundland and Quebec west to Manitoba, south to NC, TN, and KS. Also scattered in the western U.S. and widespread in Europe.



Herbaceous perennial from short stolons, to 18" high. Stems square, hairy. Leaves opposite, mostly entire broadly elliptic-ovate, petiolate or subsessile, to 1.5" long. Flowers pink-purple, about 0.5" long, bilabiate, subtended by hairy bracts; numerous in a rounded, terminal, head-like inflorescence, sometimes with smaller clusters in the upper leaf axils; sepals hairy; stamens 4.


Flowers late June to early August

Wetland indicator: Upland

This plant is also native to Europe and those from the southern part of our range may have been introduced. It is also called Clinopodium vulgare. The dried leaves can be used as a seasoning, similar to commercial basil but not as strong. The fresh leaves may also be used to make an infusion.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States
and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Niering, W. A. 1979. The Audubon society field guide to North American wildflowers: eastern region.
Knopf/Random House, New York.


Peterson, L. A. 1977. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America
Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005