Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), one of the most popular aromatic plants, shows great variation in both morphology and essential oil components. In this study, the composition of 18 Turkish basil essential oils was investigated by GC and GC-MS. Variation of essential oils in the landraces was subjected to cluster analysis, and seven different chemotypes were identified. They were (1) linalool, (2) methyl cinnamate, (3) methyl cinnamate/linalool, (4) methyl eugenol, (5) citral, (6) methyl chavicol (estragol), and (7) methyl chavicol/citral. Methyl chavicol with high citral contents (methyl chavicol/citral) can be considered as a "new chemotype" in the Turkish basils. Because methyl eugenol and methyl chavicol have structural resemblance to carcinogenic phenylpropanoids, chemotypes having high linalool, methyl cinnamate or citral contents and a mixture of these is suitable to cultivate for use in industry. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.