Common name: Anise

Scientific name: Pimpinella anisum

Family: Umbelliferae


Aromatic, culinary, and medicinal.Anise may be used for its aromatic qualities in oil and potpourris. Crushed seeds are added to sachets. The licorice flavor complements eggs, fruit, cheese, pastries, cakes, and cookies. The leaves are used in salads or as a garnish and dried for teas. The seed is used whole or ground. Anise is reported to have some medicinal qualities.


Anise is native to the Middle East. Although its name does not have a particular meaning, the plant itself is associated with health and is thought to aid digestion. It has been cultivated for much of recorded history. Hippocrates recommended it for coughs, and the Roman scholar Pliny used it as a breath freshener. Today


This herb has a woody root that produces a round, grooved, branched stem. The coarse-toothed lower leaves are round to cordate with long petioles. The upper leaves are feathery, delicate, and pinnately divided. Leaflets may be toothed or toothless. The small flowers are white to yellowish white with petals that are held in compound umbels. The brown fruit is ovate, downy, flattened, and 1/8 inch long.

Plant type: Annual

Hardiness: Hardiness zones are not applicable to annuals

Height: 18 to 24 inches

Width: about 12 inches

Light: full sun

Soil: light, dry, well-drained soil with a pH of 6

Pests: None noted

Disease: None noted


This spindly plant needs protection from winds and plenty of sunshine to promote healthy growth. Its fragile, tender seedlings do not transplant well. Add fertilizer only if the soil is extremely poor, and add lime if the pH is very acidic. Water regularly in hot, dry weather, preferably in late afternoon or evening to avoid scorching the plant.

Companion planting

Anise seed will germinate more rapidly if sown near coriander. It has been shown that the presence of coriander improves the actual seed formation of the anise plant.

Propagation: Seeds sown directly into the ground.

Flowering period: July to August

Flower color: White to yellowish white


After the flower umbels have become heavy with ripe brown seeds, cut the heads off before they drop. Place them in a single layer on a paper towel or plate in a dry place. If possible, expose to direct sunlight to allow the seeds to completely dry out. When the seeds are crisp and dry, rub between palms to separate the seed from the hull, sieve to remove seeds from the husks, and store in airtight containers

Garden notes: Seeds germinate readily in flats, but anise transplants poorly.

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