National Geographic : 2019 Sep
THIS ARTICLE ORIGINATED IN THE SPONSORED FUTURE OF FOOD DIGITAL SERIES. DECODER BASIL OCIMUM BASILICUM Each basil variety has a unique set of chemical aromas that impart flavor. Native to wetter areas, basils don’t need “hairy” heat and drought shields like the herbs below do, so leaves are almost bald. ROSEMARY ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS Rosemary’s piney flavor comes from chemicals made and stored in two structures: balloons (here, colored yellow) and tiny toadstools (here, purple and white). LAVENDER LAVANDULA SPP. Scattered among spiny hairs on lavender’s leaves, tiny balloons (yellow here) hold compounds that generate aroma as well as the flavor that lavender adds to foods and beverages. The small round structures are glands containing the chem- icals that make basil’s flavors and aromas. Rosemary’s slightly furry feeling on the tongue comes from “hair” that helps the plant weather drought. It takes 210,000 of these stigmas, from a football field’s worth of crocuses, to yield a pound of saffron. As with rosemary, the hairs on lavender leaves protect from sun glare and slow the evaporation of water.