Cinnamon basil, also known as Mexican spice basil, has a spicy, fragrant aroma and flavor. It contains methyl cinnamate, the same chemical that gives cinnamon its flavor. Cinnamon basil has somewhat narrow, slightly serrated, dark green, shiny leaves with reddish-purple veins, which can resemble certain types of mint, and produces small, pink flowers from July to September. Its stems are dark purple Cinnamon basil grows to 18–30 inches tall.
Cinnamon basil is used in teas and baked goods such as cookies and pies. It is also used in pastas, salads, jellies, and vinegars. Outside the kitchen, cinnamon basil is used in dried arrangements and as a potpourri.
Cinnamon basil was taken into space by the Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-118 and grown in an experiment in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station.
Smaller than Sweet Basil, this narrower-leafed variety is known for its darker color and spicy, cinnamon-like aroma and taste. Has distinctive cinnamon-colored stems. Great for containers. Goes beautifully with fruit, or in Asian or Indian dishes.
Type: warm season annual
Planting time: after last frost in spring
Features: cinnamon-spiced, aromatic leaves
Light: full sun
Soil: fertile, moist, but well drained
Spacing: 12 to 18 inches
Plant size: 18 to 30 inches tall, 12 to 18 inches wide
Garden use: in containers, herb or flower garden
Culinary use: use like Sweet Basil, cooked or fresh; popular in Italian and Asian cuisines