Mysterious Basil anyone?

nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Growing Medicinals

Ok- I planted a whole packet of unopened basil seeds in the spring. They all sprouted- looked great- smelled basily😉- but they looked weird. And no square stem- i thought hmmm? Dismissed it cause I mean the packet said basil- it was sealed- so ofcourse it was basil- right?! Keep following me here...

A couple weeks later my husband and I were strolling through the park (yes people actually do that😍) and i saw a whole bunch of this basil growing- wild and free- i was so excited- my weird basil grows wild! Then a week later- at another trail with my kids i see a bunch of this basil growing- i couldn't believe it- everywhere. I never realized basil grew wild like this. I began to grow suspicious a teeny bit- but ignored my suspicions and continued to harvest. Keep following me....

Finally, my curiosity got me and I snapped this picture and ran it through the Inaturalist app- just to see what kind of basil this is that's everywhere. BAM! It's Croton Monanthogynus- or better known as "prairie tea"- nothing close to basil😕. (Yes- I researched it in a few different places to verify identity) I was a bit miffed.

I'm still a bit disappointed because there's very little written on this plants uses. Something random like "the settlers made tea out of it, it replaces basil in cooking, it's a SPURGE😳"- but i can't find any medicinal info or what it's qualities are much. So- anyways, I've been using it as basil and I'm alive so that's good news- cause spurges are generally not good- if you know what i mean😬.

Has anyone else ever had something crazy like this happen? Please tell me the story😋- please- so I'm not alone in doofus land.

Maybe the moral of the story is get your seeds from reputable sources guys. I don't know. I ripped it up and planted radishes- we'll see if i end up growing castor plants this time😂😵.


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,455 admin

    I agree; that could have been very dangerous! I wonder how they made such a mistake. How do you like the Inaturalist app, btw? I'm trying to figure out what the best plant ID app is.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,623 admin

    @nicksamanda11 This plant doesn't grow in my area so not familiar with it at all. But agreed, this could have been very dangerous. This is a link to an article written by someone with personal experience. I found another source saying that this plant has cathartic properties. So a medicinal property but not a pleasant one.

    I would write to the seed company that you purchased these seeds from and let them know they had a mix-up. It could be quite dangerous for sensitive individuals.

  • Hassena
    Hassena Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    My goodness! Glad you did your research. I do believe the square stems are true for all basils.

    Once we planted some sort of berry bush. It grew and seemed more like deadly nightshade. I removed the plants. Big disappoint. I always ask daughter how she knows something is edible. She's 10 and very confident. :)

    We comparec leaves, stems, flowers and growth habit. Very good that you were suspicious.

    Thanks for sharing. Great post. Your story was fun to read.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    Judsoncarroll4- i like the Inaturalist app pretty well. I don't count on it (because I'm suspicious of electronics period😧) but it points me in the right direction often when I'm stumped. I really like being able to take a picture and run it through the app while in the field. Sometimes if I'm pretty certain it's a proper I.D. i can go ahead and harvest right then since I'm already there.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    Torey- I saw that article in my research- thanks for sending it though. I threw the seed packet away and have no clue what company it was. But believe me that crossed my mind.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    Hassena- thanks for sharing- and I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Sometimes if there's a long post on here it's easier to read if it's written with character rather than just factual.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Does give one pause. A vaguely different story. I planted carrots last year, and I thought none of them had sprouted. Went out to my garden this spring to see what was happening. I saw a very tall carrot family plant growing in my garden. Well, I am quite leery of tall wild carrot family plants. I don't know them well enough to trust my identification of them. So I cut it off and threw it in the burn pile. It had a symmetrical round hollow central stem. Then I pulled the root. I had planted multicolored carrots. This had a white carrot like root which I am fairly certain that the wild poisonous members of the carrot family don't have. And it didn't smell bad. I threw it away anyway because it would have been way too woody.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    That would be weird- planting carrots and then some random carrot family plant showing up. But not the one's you planted. Hmmm.