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Foeniculum vulgare (Umbelliferae)
Habitat and appearance: It is a hardy biennial or, more frequently and in suitable situations, a perennial. Growing 1.5-2m high, it is an erect plant (much-branched) with hollow, greeny-blue, shiny stems. It has feathery leaves and small yellow flowers on large flat terminal umbels (very like dill), comprising 15-20 rays, appearing July to August. It produces fruit and seeds in autumn, with a distinctive aniseed taste.
Garden suitability: This beautiful plant belongs to the six culinary herbs I earlier advised that one should be familiar with. Not only very ornamental if let to grow up high, it can also be kept cut to produce a constant supply of young green leaves for cooking, garnishing and herbal teas. However, the flowers and the seeds may be used in the teas if you don’t wish to crop the plant. Fennel can be, and often is, grown as an annual, being easily propagated by seed; however well-drained soil and a sunny situation will produce a happy perennial.