Star Anise Illicium verum

How to sow star anise: Direct seed outdoors in fall or use semi-hardwood cuttings

Sun requirement for star anise: Plant in Partial Sun

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Star Anise is a medium to small evergreen tree native to China and Vietnam that produces dark brown, star-shaped fruit that have culinary and medicinal uses. The 8-pointed pods have a licorice-like spice and a stronger taste than Anise (Pimpinella anisum), which is an unrelated species. Each pod contains a small, tough-skinned brown seed. Trees have leathery, dark green, lance-shaped leaves, white flowers, and greenish-yellow or reddish-purple flowers. They only begin to produce fruit after 15 years, but yield 3 annual harvests. Fruit should be harvested just before it ripens and then dried. Star Anise is used whole or ground in baked goods, soups, sauces, and teas. It is also used to make liquors like Anisette and Sambuca. Trees cannot survive temperatures below -10° C, but can be grown in containers with full sunlight in cooler regions. Do not confuse Star Anise with Japanese Star Anise (Illicium anisatum), which is a poisonous plant native to Japan. Japanese Star Anise fruits are slightly smaller than Star Anise, with a more rounded shape and a small hook that makes them look a bit like cardamom.

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How to grow star anise

Scientific names

Illicium verum

Alternate names

star aniseed
Chinese star anise

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