Our 2023 EFN seed catalogue is now online! 100+ new varieties. Over 40 different growers and foragers from across the country. A million thanks to all who make this possible, especially our amazing seed-house crew!

'Iraqi' Basil
'Iraqi' Basil

'Iraqi' Basil

Regular price $4.00 Sale

Ocimum basilicum

Origin: Iraq

Improvement status: Cultivar

Seeds per packet: ~25

Germination tested 12/2022: 86%

Life cycle: Annual

Through our association with the wonderful Truelove Seeds in Philadelphia, we were introduced to a new seed-saving project called the Iraqi Seed Collective. Begun by a small group of Iraqi-Americans interested in preserving the plant varieties of their ancestral homeland, we knew this was a project we wanted to support. EFN co-founder Nate Kleinman volunteered to grow out some seeds for them, and this gorgeous basil was the result. The plants somewhat resemble Thai basil or tulsi, and it has a strong basil flavor with some notes of anise. The fragrance that wafts around after brushing past the plants made Nate go out of his way all season to just walk along the row. 

We know we still have a lot more to learn about this variety, such as where it comes from in Iraq and how it's traditionally used, but we and our colleagues in the Iraqi Seed Collective are hopeful that by making it available here we might get some answers one of these days. We believe it's likely this basil was grown both for its leaves and its seeds (which it produces in profusion). Basil seeds can be prepared and eaten much like chia seeds, forming gelatinous balls after immersion in water.

These seeds were grown by Nate at the EFN flagship farm in Elmer, NJ. 50% of the proceeds of their sale will be offered to the Iraqi Seed Collective to help further their great work.

GROWING TIPS: Grow as any other basil. Surface sow or plant just under the surface, once danger of frost has passed. May direct sow or start indoors earlier. Space plants at least 8 inches apart for maximal production.