Ocimum obovatum is a perennial, multi-stemmed herb that has attracted some horticultural interest. The leaves are opposite and shaped lanceolate, ovate or obovate. Apart from shape variability, they’re hairy or not and the margins may be entire or toothed.
Blooms are seen in spring and summer in many-flowered clusters on long stalks. Pollination involves a series of butterfly species, adding to the willing gardener’s reward. Looking at the stamens on these flowers gives a clue as to the origin of the common name, cat's whiskers.
The stems die down in winter, to be cut away in the garden. The plant is low-growing, should be planted in full sun (www.plantzafrica.com; Germishuizen and Fabian, 1982).