Sweet basill (known commonly as just basil) is the parent of the species Ocimum basilicum of the family Lamiaceae (mints). It is a tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell.
There are many varieties of basil. That which is used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil, lemon basil and holy basil, which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including African blue and Holy Thai basil.