Ocimum gratissimum is an herbaceous perennial shrub notably found in the tropics and sub tropical countries. It is an important part of the traditional system of medicine in many countries which is use in the treatment of various ailments. Ocimums have a variety of compounds which are of medicinal and nutritional importance; they are use as spices, food or medicine. The aim of this study is to evaluate the morphological diversity and character correlation among ocimum gratissimum genotypes. The study was carried out in the Teaching and Research Farm of faculty of Agriculture University of Benin, Benin city Edo state Nigeria in 2013. It involved the collection of the ocimum genotypes from 23 homes and gardens in Benin metropolis. The experiment was laid out as a randomized complete block design with three replicates. The morphological character studied include ; plant height, number of branches, number of leaves, leave length, leave breadth, leave area , fresh and dry leave yields. However there was little or no variability in the morphological characters among the genotypes (p≥0.01).Also there is a strong and positive correlation among most of the characters.
In Nigeria and many other Africa countries, indigenous people use many plants as food and medicine. Such plants have a variety of compounds which are of medicinal and nutritional importance; they are use as spices, food or medicine. (Edeoga and Eriata 2001; Edeoga et al. 2003; Osuagwu et al).
The genus ocimum (family Lamiaceae), commonly and collectively called as “Basil” is a diverse and rich source of aromatic essential oils attributed for their pharmaceutical, culinary and aromatic properties .(Pushpagandan and Bradu 1995). Many species of the genus Ocimum, namely; Ocimum americanum, Ocimum basilicum, Ocimum canun, Ocimum gratissimum,Ocimum sactum and Ocimum suave have been reported for various medicinal uses.( Burkil, 1985; Oliver, 1980; Sofowora, 1993; and Adjanahoun et al. 1991).
The economically important parts of ocimums are their leaves and tender shoots which on steam distillation yield pleasant smelling volatile essential oil having phenylpropanoids and terpenoids as their major active compounds. (Pushpagandan and Bradu , 1995).
Ocimum gratissimum is a herbaceous perennial shrub notably found in Tropical and sub-tropical countries including Nigeria where it is called clove basil, sweet basil, tea-bush scent leaf or fever plant. It is also known with different local names in Nigeria; Nupe:Tan-motsungi-wawagi; Ebira: Ireru; Hausa:Daidoya ta gida ; Yoruba: Efinrin; Ibo:Nchanwu. (Grill ,1992 ; Mann, et al., 2003 and Burkill, 1998).Several ethnobotanical surveys show that Ocimum gratissimum was among the plants reported in Nigeria communities to be use traditionally in the treatment of bacterial infections such as; Diarrhea, dysentery and other gastro-intestinal infections ; upper respiratory tract infection associated with coughing, pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis; urinogenital infection, skin infections (eczema, dermatitis ,scabies, measles), ophthalmic and diabetes and veterinary problems (Adjonohom et al., 1991; Prabhu et al, 2009) and antihelmintis. (Pessoa et al. 2002).
Information on genetic variability in a population is a pre-requisite for selection of superior genotype. (Fiyaz et al., 2011). The application of genetic variations can be utilize the in future improvement programs. There is presently a dearth of information on morphological diversity and character correlation of ocimum gratisssimum. Thus the objective of this present study is to evaluate morphological diversity and character correlation among ocimum gratissimum genotypes.