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Foeniculum vulgare

Scientific classification
Species:F. vulgare

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant of the Apiaceae or parsley family, which produces edible seeds and leaves. The variety Florence fennel (F. vulgare azoricum) has inflated leaf bases which form a sort of bulb. It comes mainly from India and Egypt and it has an anise-like flavor, but is more aromatic and sweeter. Its flavor comes from anethole, an aromatic compound that also flavors anise and star anise.



It is a perennial herb, erect, glaucous, and grows to 2 m tall. It is highly aromatic. The leaves grow up to 40 cm long; they are finely dissected, with the ultimate segments filiform; umbels are terminal, 5-15 cm wide; umbellets with 20-50 tiny flowers, these are on filiform pedicels. The fruit is from 4-9 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved.

Florence fennel is much smaller than the wild type and has inflated leaf bases which are eaten as a vegetable, both raw and cooked. There are several cultivars of Florence fennel, which is also known by several other names, notably finocchio.


Fennel is native to southern Europe (especially by the Mediterranean) and southwestern Asia. In Hawaii, it is cultivated and naturalized along roadsides, in pastures, and other open sites. It has been similarly widely introduced to the US and southern Canada. In Fiji, it is occasionally cultivated near sea level, and sparingly naturalized in shady waste places. It is propagated by seed.


It is used traditionally as a leaf vegetable or herb in cooking, particularly with eggs and fish. It is also used as a diuretic and to improve milk supply of breastfeeding mothers.

Florence fennel, popular in Italy and Germany, among other countries, may be eaten as a salad (e.g. with chicory and avocado), blanched and marinated, or cooked (e.g. as risotto); in all cases, it adds its characteristic mild anise flavor.

Fennel seeds

Fennel seed is used extensively as a spice in the Indian subcontinent and all over the Middle East. It is an essential ingredient in the Bengali spice mixture Panch Phoron and in Chinese five spice powders. It is known as saunf or moti saunf (Hindi, mouri Bengali, shombu Tamil ) It is strongly aromatic anise-flavored spice that is the dried fruit (not seed).of the fennel plant. The "seeds" are brown or green, but slowly turn a dull grey as the spice ages; a good green color is considered a sign of quality. Fennel seeds are often confused with aniseed, which is very similar in taste and appearance. though much smaller.

Indians often chew on plain saunf as a mouth-freshener.

Fennel is also used as a flavoring in some natural toothpastes.


  • Fennel risotto (http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/europe/italian/risotto-fennel1.html)

Braised Fennel


1 Fennel bulb
Half pint of vegetable stock
1 Clove of Garlic
Sunflower or olive oil

Get a metal based saucepan and heat the oil. Meanwhile cut the tops off the fennel bulb so that you are left with only the bulbous part. Now cut it into quarters and fry each side of the pieces in the oil until lightly browned.

Crush and chop the garlic and mix it in with the stock. Now pour the stock into the saucepan and boil until it reduces to become a coating sauce.

Serve with some steamed vegetables and a smile.[1] (http://www.selfsufficientish.com/fennel.htm)


In Ancient Greek fennel was called marathron. This is the origin of the placename Marathon (meaning place of fennel), site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

In medieval times fennel was used in conjunction with St Johns Wort to keep away witchcraft and other evil things. This might have originated because fennel can be used as an insect repellant.[2] (http://www.selfsufficientish.com/fennel.htm)

Fennel is thought to be one of the nine herbs held sacred by the Anglo-saxons. The others are still not totally certain but they seem to be mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), greater plantain (Plantago major), watercress (Nastrurtium officinale), wild chamomile (Matricaria recutita), stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), crab apple (Pyrus malus), chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), and viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare). The final one still remains a mystery. [3] (http://www.selfsufficientish.com/fennel.htm)

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