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Clocimum

An Introduction
Clocimum was developed in India and is an improved version of the herb, ocimum gratissum L. The plant is characterized by a clove like scent and contains a high amount of eugenol. The clocimum oil is the valuable by product of the clocimum as it yields eugenol, which is a necessary raw material in many industries. The clocimum plant is tall and well branched out. It easily adapts to the varying soil and climatic conditions unlike other eugenol producing herbs like the the clove and the cinnamon which require specific conditions for growth. This aromatic and highly popular plant is perennial and a hybrid form. The erect, green stem of this plant is covered with short hairs and can grow to a height of over two meters. The clocimum's ovate shaped leaves contain oil glands. The flowers of the plant are white or greenish to pale yellow in color and are closely huddled together.

 

Importance
With greater demands for perfumery and pharmaceutical products, India was forced to import greater amount of eugenol. With the wholly indigenous development of the clocimum at Jammu, the country has access to required precious eugenol and is becoming self sufficient in this product. Through the production of clocimum, which is comparatively cheaper to the clove and cinnamon, the country is able to largely, meet its needs for high quality eugenol. It is the essential oil of the clocimum which contains eugenol and this is used in a variety of industries like perfumery, confectionery, medicines and cosmetics.

 

Cultivation
The plant is relatively easy to grow and is a hardy, perennial plant which can be easily grown on even the extremely saline, alkaline and watery soils. Sandy and loamy soils are the best areas for growing it. The cultivation of the plant requires soils which are rich in organic matter. The plant can thrive in all sorts of climatic conditions and is characterized by an easily adaptability. The plant grows well in tropical, sub tropical and even warmer temperate regions of the globe. It grows best in the summer and monsoon months, in areas receiving moderate rainfall.The crop is grown in a widespread area in India. It does not grow in the winter time, when it lies dormant. Mealy bugs, termites and other pests can cause greater damage to the crop.

 

The clocimum is grown, initially, in the nursery beds during the month of February. The plant is first harvested after three months from the first transplantation. The time of harvest is important to the quality and quantity of the oil produced. The best oil can be produced if the harvest is conducted during bright and sunny days. It is ideally collected in the early mornings. The maximum oil is stored in the leaves of the plant. This is extracted immediately after the harvest or within eight hours of it as beyond that, the quality is likely to deteriorate. Two types of oil are extracted from the plant. While, one variety of the clocimum oil is lighter than water, the other variety is much more heavier.