Aniseed can be grown in a sunny, sheltered spot, and may reach a height of approximately 45 cm (18 in.) high. The plant puts forth tiny white flowers in the summer, and its seeds can be gathered in the autumn. The seeds themselves are a grey-brown color, oval and slightly ridged, and measure from 2 to 4 mm in length. Anise seed is commercially available in whole or ground form, as well as in the form of an essential oil that is produced by steam distillation of crushed anise seeds

Though the seeds have a strong licorice-like taste and odor, the anise plant is not related to the European plant whose roots are the source of true licorice. Chinese Star Anise is botanically unrelated to anise, but because it has a similar taste and aroma, it is often used as a less-expensive substitute for anise in baking and liquor production.


Pimpinella Anisum and fruit (inset)