Growing Herbs

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How to Grow Anise (pimpinella anisum)

  • Plant: annual
  • Height: 60cm
  • Soil: light, fairly rich
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Propagation: seeds
  • Uses: culinary

How to Grow ANISE (Pimpinella anisum)types of leaves on the anise plant. Those which grow thickly at the base of the stem are bright green, oval, and have toothed edges. On the stems, rising above the basal leaves, appear smaller, elongated leaves-each divided into three segments. The tiny flowers are white and grow at the top of the 60cm stems in thick, umbrella like clusters.

Anise is one of the oldest known herbs, having been mentioned in ancient Egyptian records. Originally from Greece and Egypt, it traveled north with the Romans to Europe and England and is one of the first European herbs to have been planted in America. Anise was used by the Romans to make a rich cake, eaten at feasts, which is thought to be the prototype of our wedding cake.

Best growth is in light, fertile, well drained soil. Start plants from seeds as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Because plants have a tap root they do not transplant well after established, so start them where they are to grow, or transplant while seedlings are still small.

Anise is most famous for the licorice flavour of its leaves and seeds. Use the leaves fresh in salads, and the seeds for flavouring cookies, pastries, and confections. Anise is also used to flavour many liqueurs.

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