Is it a spice or a herb? Believe it or not, it's both! Let me introduce you to one of the oldest of our cultivated herbs and spices, the anise plant.
Evidence of aniseed cultivation dates back 4,000 years to ancient Egypt, where its popularity quickly spread north to Europe, leaving a legacy of aniseed flavor wherever it was grown. Although anise is in no way related to the licorice plant, it is very similar in taste and aroma.
Anise is a key ingredient used to flavor some very famous liquors, including ouzo in Greece and Cyprus, pastis and pernod in France, and sambuca in Italy, and a common ingredient in cakes and breads. The medicinal benefits of aniseed have been used for thousands of years to aid digestion, reduce gas, relieve coughs, sore throats, nausea, and even make childbirth easier!
When anise came to England in the 14th century, the demand for spices, medicines and perfumes was so high that King Edward I taxed it to pay for repairs on London Bridge.
Growing anise is still popular for its pretty white flowers in the garden, as well as its pungent aniseed taste. Read on to learn how to grow this fascinating herb in your garden.
Good products for growing the anise plant:
Brief instructions for care
Anise, sometimes called anise, is a lovely herb to grow with. Source: Emdot
|Common Name (s)||Anise, anise|
|Scientific name||Pimpinella anisum|
|Days to harvest||120 days|
|Water:||Regularly at a young age. Less often set up once.|
|fertilizer||Light mulch, nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer|
Everything about the anise plant
Anise flowers are usually white in color and are delicate but pretty. Source: ibsut
Anise (Pimpinella anisum is its botanical name) comes from the carrot family Apiaceae, just like parsnips, celery, coriander and fennel. It is also commonly known as anise, a name derived from the seed for which it is grown primarily for its essential oil. Anise is native to the eastern Mediterranean, mainly from Egypt, Turkey and Greece.
Depending on the conditions, the anise grows to 45 to 90 cm tall. The young leaves are long, green, and slightly lobed, but as the plant matures they become finely pinnate and have a feather-like appearance. Aniseed flowers appear from mid to late summer in the form of tightly packed umbels with small white individual aniseed flowers 3 mm in diameter. Whole umbels can reach a diameter of 15 to 17 cm. Seed heads develop in late summer to early autumn and form several seed pods, known as "schizocarps", each containing long, brown seeds that can be released when fully ripened. After the seed heads are harvested, the remaining foliage dies and usually does not survive the winter, making anise a semi-hard yearbook.
Anise is one of those flavors that you either love or hate. It has a strong, highly aromatic, sweet aniseed taste similar to licorice. There is nothing nice about that. Anise is grown primarily for its seeds, but the leaves and roots can also be eaten in salads or cooked in stews, curries, and casseroles to add a subtle aniseed flavor.
Pimpinella anisum is non-invasive but is often confused with its cousin fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, which has become a nuisance in many countries where it grows wild. Anise grows well in containers, but unlike its cousin fennel, which is allelopathic (inhibits the growth of other plants), anise promotes the growth of plants like beans and cilantro and is a happy planting companion in the soil.
When the aniseed flowers fade, seeds form in their place. Source: Julio Martinez
Start sowing anise as soon as possible to ensure enough warm, frost-free days for the seeds to ripen in time for harvest. As with most plants in the carrot family, anise has a rooster root that does not transplant well. For best results, sow anise directly into prepared drills in the spring after the last frost date. Thin seedlings 6 to 8 inches apart and 45 cm between rows, keeping the area watered and weed-free until plants establish.
The seeds can also be started indoors in the spring 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. They can be sown directly into large peat / coconut pots or pellets to limit transplant shock and damage to roots when planted in the ground. It takes 10-12 days for aniseed seeds to germinate at 20 ° C. Seedlings need to be cured gradually for about a week to get used to the outside temperatures. Plant in the final position when there is no longer any risk of frost.
Anise is a delicate plant that can become top heavy as seed heads form and may need assistance. Plant anise in a sheltered spot in the garden in full sun and protected from strong, cold winds. If you are growing anise in containers, choose a large, deep, heavy pot that will hold the taproot and not tip over.
Anise flowers grow in umbels. Source: Alberto Marín
Caring for anise is pretty straightforward. Follow our tips below and you won't go wrong.
Sun and temperature
Grow anise in full sun with at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. In warmer climates, plants benefit from shade during the hottest time of day to keep the delicate, pinnate leaves and stems from messing up. Grow anise in USDA Zones 4 through 9 with temperatures between 8 and 23 ° C. The ideal anise growth temperature is between 18 and 21 ° C. Very high temperatures wither and dry out the foliage, and low temperatures and frost prevent the seeds from ripening and ultimately kill the plant. Container plants can be moved inside in colder weather.
Water and moisture
Young aniseed plants have to be watered frequently until they are established. Keep the soil moist, but never wet. Mature plants perform better when grown in drier, well-drained soil conditions. Hence, it is best to let the soil dry out between waterings. Check your container grown plants regularly as they will dry out faster and require frequent watering. Water the plants in the morning at ground level with a timed soaking hose or watering can. On very hot days, anise can be watered in the afternoon, especially if the plant shows signs of overheating.
Anise is not a fussy plant when it comes to soil, and it can handle pretty bad conditions. However, for best results, choose a well-drained soil, e.g. B. a light sandy loam. In terms of pH, anise grows in soils from a slightly acidic pH 6.5 to an alkaline pH 8.
Fertilizer isn't always necessary unless you have anise growing in extremely poor soil conditions and plants are showing signs of decline. A good organic mulch acts as a soil conditioner that adds nutrients and retains moisture. You can also feed plants a nitrogen-rich liquid feed or a good seaweed feed at the beginning of the season if you are planting aniseed outside.
Anise doesn't require regular pruning to maintain its shape or encourage growth. At the end of the growing season, harvest the seed heads by pruning them back to ground level. This also prevents plants from self-seeding.
Anise can be propagated from seeds indoors or sown directly outdoors.
Outside: Anise does not transplant well because of its tap root. For best results, sow anise seeds in the spring, when all danger of frost has passed, and sow them directly into prepared drills 1/2 inch deep and rows 45 cm (1.5 feet) apart. Sow seeds about 1 inch apart, cover with soil and water. Germination can take up to 14 days outdoors. When seedlings appear, thinly 6 to 8 inches apart and keep the area watery and weed-free until plants are established.
Within: Start the seeds indoors in the spring a few weeks before the last frost and sow them straight into large peat / coconut pots or pellets. This limits the transplant shock or damage to the roots during planting. Alternatively, sow a seed or two of aniseed in 3.5 to 4 inch tall plastic pots, squeeze out the weaker seedling, and transplant or pot as soon as roots are visible through the holes in the ground. It takes 10-12 days for the seeds to germinate at 20 ° C. Gradually acclimate the seedlings to outdoor conditions for about a week before planting outdoors, put them outside in a sunny, sheltered spot during the day, and move them indoors at night. Plant anise seedlings in their final positions when all danger of frost has passed.
Harvesting and storing
Anise seeds have a liquorice-like taste. Source: annosvixit
Anise needs 120 days of frost-free weather to mature and to have seeds ready for harvest and storage.
Anise leaves can be harvested when the plant begins to develop its pretty white flowers. Harvesting leaves from young plants can affect growth. Just cut what you need and be careful not to damage the stems that support the seed heads.
Seed production requires a warm, dry growing season to mature the seeds for harvest. This usually occurs in late summer / early fall when the seed pods have turned brown. In cooler climates, whole seed heads can be cut back and brought indoors to allow the seeds to mature and dry thoroughly.
Freshly picked leaves are best used right away, but will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few days if wrapped in a damp kitchen towel. Harvested seed heads should be placed in paper bags and kept in a warm, dry place to allow the seeds to mature. Anise seeds can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 years.
As with most plants, growing anise is easy, but just in case there are a few issues to be aware of here.
The main problems with growing aniseed are due to its delicate nature. The leaves are fine and can be damaged by extreme cold and heat So protect the hottest sun and only plant it out when the danger of frost has passed.
Weak stems often require support to support the weight of the seed heads. Also, avoid planting aniseed in exposed garden areas as plants can easily tip over. After all, anise doesn't like damp roots, so let the soil dry out between waterings.
Aphids (Aphidoidea) are small, sticky, yellow, green, and black flies that feed on the sap of the new growth of aniseed plants. Used to treat organically grown companion plants such as coriander to attract beneficial insects that feed on aphids such as ladybug larvae, lacewings and hoverflies. Or spray with an organic insecticidal soap or neem oil. Squeezing aphids with your fingers or a quick jet of water can help reduce the numbers.
Anise is prone to mildew when grown in moist, shady conditions. Powdery mildew grows as thick dust on the leaves, inhibits photosynthesis and hinders growth. The foliage eventually turns yellow and dies. Maintain good garden hygiene and remove infected leaves to prevent the disease from spreading and re-infecting in subsequent years. Make sure there is sufficient sunlight and good air circulation. Treat affected plants with an organic fungicide such as sulfur or potassium bicarbonate before or at first sight.
frequently asked Questions
Don't confuse anise with its relative fennel, also known as sweet anise. Source: mscaprikell
Q: What is the advantage of anise?
A: Anise has many medicinal benefits. It is said to aid digestion, relieve nausea, and relieve sore throats and coughs, as well as being used to add aniseed flavor to foods.
Q: is anise plant edible?
A: All parts of the anise plant are edible from roots, leaves and seeds. Each element is used in different ways to flavor food and beverages, or for use in medicine and essential oils.
Q: What is herbal anise used for?
A: The green leaves of the anise plant can be used in salads or added to stews, soups, casseroles and curries. It's best to add leaves towards the end of the cooking process for a subtle aniseed flavor. Or you can just eat the herb leaves directly to freshen your breath.
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