Amazing Wild Fennel

Photo credit: Flickr

Photo credit: Flickr

This interesting and useful plant sheds its perfume on meadows from spring until late autumn. Wild fennel or anise naturally grows along the coast of Mediterranean region. If you want to pick a fresh plant, you should do it in the spring, and if you are going for the fruits and seeds do it in the summer or autumn.

It is a perennial plant, and branched stalk can grow as high as two meters. The leaves are a wispy, in delicate green color, while the small yellow flowers blooms are collected in the form of an umbrella, which appear in the fall. One can form fruits which are green at the beginning and then they turn grayish.

Where does it grow?

This plant prefers sunny, deserted and dry spots, but it can grow in the green zones also, under the walls of stone and the edges of rural roads.

What and when to pick?


Flower of wild fennel should be picked as soon as it is “open”, which usually occurs from mid-August until the end of September.

It can be used fresh or dried, and if you chose to dry it this should be done on windy and bright place. Leaves and tiny corms should be collected from spring to late fall.

Medicinal properties

Medicinal properties of wild fennel come down to digestive and diuretic. Because of its relaxing effect it is sometimes added to solutions for curing redness of the eyes. It is a good source of niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and manganese.

How to use wild fennel in the kitchen

As for its use in cooking, wild fennel has a lot to offer. Fresh and chopped leaves are used as a flavoring for soups, fish dishes, salads and cheeses. In the famous Sicilian specialty “pasta con le sarde” main ingredient are leaves of this amazing plant.

The flowers can be used as a seasoning for cooked chestnuts, mushrooms baked in the oven or pan, olives and pork. The so-called “seeds” are used for flavoring crackers, donuts and other desserts, as well as for flavoring mulled wine or tea. To prepare the famous anise liqueur, fresh flowers and/or seeds and leaves should be used.

Interesting fact

In the past, wine-makers offered lobes of domestic fennel to those who came to buy wine which was kept in barrels. This herb contains aromatic substances which made delicious even the wines whose quality was not so good or even the spoiled one.