Sunday, June 5, 2011

The problem with anise - or is it fennel?

There is nothing so tantalizing as the sweet scent of fennel. So why do I want to cut it down?

It looks lovely from inside my house.

It looks pretty good from the outside too.

It has grown so tall, it's higher than the eaves. Parts of it are dying and crumbling to be dry bits on the ground. Other parts just grow greener and higher.

What's left are piles of dead fennel leaves and clumps of root. Unless we dig it up, new fennel will grow from these clumps. What I thought was so pretty: those feathery leaves, the lacy yellow flowers, and the sweet smell, has now become a fire hazard growing right next to my house. I'm sorry I let it grow. The yard has room for it elsewhere.

I'll miss looking at it out the window. I'll miss the smell. But it just has to go.

I have both anise and fennel in my yard. I just looked up the difference between anise and fennel and if I can go by the yellow flowers, I have fennel.

I noticed some time back that I have two similar plants growing. One has white flowers and the other yellow. The seed pods are different too. I thought this was anise, but according to the web it's fennel. That means the leafy stuff I have in the front yard is anise. Same yard, different plants.

Well, I know for sure that I had better cut it down, but maybe I'll also dig up a clump and see if I have roots or bulbs in the ground.

Marilynne - who is giggling as I finish this post.


  1. There are butterflies that use that as a "Host" plant, which means they lay their eggs on fennel. Black swallowtail lay their eggs on there, so be sure to plant it back in your yard.....away from the house!

  2. Lin - I didn't know that. Thanks for the information. I haven't seen a swallowtail, so I may be safe there. The fennel is down. My daughters want me to dig up the bulbs to see if they're edible.


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