The diversity of basil is a good example of how food culture has influenced backyard plant breeding. Pesto is a regional dish from Genoa, Italy. Genovese gardeners selected basil for the qualities they felt made the best pesto--especially the ability to pesto, or to pound, the leaves. Thai basils, on the other hand, were bred for their strong, rich aromas that did not diminish during stir-frying. Find a purpose for every basil in this mix.