Basil has large, green fragrant leaves which can grow up to four inches. The color intensity of the leaves depends on the fertility of the soil, the richer the soil, the darker the color. It is a Mediterranean herb which thrives in warm nights and moist soil.
(Ocimum basilicum var. Siam Queen)Thai basil is widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine, where the intense aroma is truly at home. Thai basil is also a welcome addition to any kind of garden; the lovely green and purple foliage compliments colored flowers, and the fragrance is delightful.
Chives are dark green in color, and have a mild onion flavor. The leaves are hollow and cylindrical, and grow to approximately six to eight inches long. Chives prefer moist, well-drained soil. Chive flowers, with their lavender-pink color, are also used in cooking.
Dill looks like a smaller version of fennel, with leaves that are feathery and dark. Dill is an annual that grows easily from seed. It enjoys direct sunlight, and does not store well when wet. It has a tangy citrus flavor which compliments any fish dish.
(Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum)
The leaves of Italian Parsley are divided into feather-like sections, and lay flat like celery leaves. The herb is also known as flat-leafed parsley. Italian parsley is a bi-annual herb in that the seeds are planted in the fall for harvest the following year. Part of parsley's allure is that the leaves can actually enhance the flavor of other herbs and aromatics.
Native to India, lemon grass can be grown in any hot, moist climate in sandy, well-drained soil. In the United States it is grown in Florida and California, but can be greenhouse grown anywhere with proper temperature and humidity. Because of its fibrous, sinewy structure, the lower bulb of the lemon grass is normally cut into small sections of stalk and "bruised" or crushed before adding to a dish.
Widely considered part of the oregano family, marjoram has small, tender light-green leaves. Marjoram generally has a flavor milder and less bitter than oregano. Marjoram's popularity declined with the discovery of oregano by WWII GIs.
(Origanum x majoricum)
Oregano has tender, light-green oval-shaped leaves with a spicier flavor than marjoram. Its square stem identifies it as a member of the mint family. Oregano's discovery by WWII GIs pushed its popularity past that of marjoram with surprising speed.
Rosemary is thick-stemmed with a pungent, pine-scented fragrance. The leaves are needle-like, narrow and dark-green. In the right climate, rosemary can go into bushes over five feet tall. A natural preservative endows rosemary with a long shelf life. HerbCo primarily grows the "Arp" cultivar.
Sage leaves are flat, fuzzy and dull green in color. Common sage has an elongated, narrow leaf; Biergarten sage (pictured) is characterized by a larger oval-shaped leaf more suitable for garnishes. Both types impart a lemony, pleasantly bitter taste.