Basic (occimum basilicum) is important for its medicinal and nutritive value. It is highly adapted as a potential crop in the tropics and could enhance the food security of sub Saharan nations. Germplasm seed evaluation and characterization was therefore carried out from the nationwide National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) seed collection survey to expand NIHORT basil genetic base. The treatments were: O. basilicum, O. gratisimum and the local basil. Treatments were randomly allocated per replication. There were significant phenotypic differences in the O. basilicum variety. These differences were observed in the plant coloration of stem, leaf, leaf vein and petiole. Our observation also revealed for first time significant tolerance to venial mottle mosaic virus (VMMV) in the purple colored compared to the green O. basilicum in the early stages of growth till 50% anthesis. This is the first report of this observation in the continent. Tolerance to VMMV symptoms increased significantly with purplish coloration. We concluded that inducement of purplish coloration in Basil through breeding might improve tolerance to VMMV and thereby increase market value of Basil with sustainable pathological interventions.
Basil, Variety, Variability, Virus Disease, Quality