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  How To Grow Anise

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pimpinella anisum
MATURE PLANT SIZE: 18 to 24 inches high x 12 inches wide
LIGHT: Full Sun
SOIL TYPE: light, dry, well-drained soil
pH RANGE: 6.0


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.

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.


Seeds sown directly into the ground. Sow seed 1/2 inch deep outdoors in spring. Does not transplant well. Rows 2.5 to 3 feet apart.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Seeds germinate readily in flats, but anise transplants poorly.


Anise seeds can be used in breads and pastries, fruit salads, or sprinkled on seafood appetizers. Sprinkle on the top of fruit pies before baking instead of cinnamon

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