The sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), can be an annual or a perennial plant depending on the place where it is grown. This plant has several culinary, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic uses. The value of its essential oil in the international market depends on the percentage of linalool. We characterized the morphologic and agronomic qualities of the Ocimum accessions, to select genotypes with higher yield of essential oil rich in linalool. Experiment design consisted of randomized blocks with two replications, evaluating 55 genotypes of the Germplasm Bank of Ocimum from the Universidade Federal do Sergipe, Brazil. The plant height, dry matter of the aerial plant parts, essential oil content and yield were evaluated. A wide diversity among the genotypes was observed for all morphological and agronomical traits evaluated. A large amplitude occurred among genotypes regarding the content of essential oil from 0,202 to 2,536 ml/100g. For the essential oil yield an amplitude from 1,103 to 21,817 l/ha was observed. Evaluating the traits content and yield of O. basilicum essential oil the genotypes NSL6421, PI197442, PI358464, PI414194, PI531396 and 'Fino Verde' can be selected for breeding programs to obtain cultivars with a high yield of essential oil rich in linalool.
Ocimum sp.; germplasm; diversity; essential oil