(Pimpinella Anisum, Linn.), an annual herb of the natural order

Umbelliferae. It is a native of southwestern Asia, northern Africa and

south-eastern Europe, whence it has been introduced by man throughout

the Mediterranean region, into Germany, and to some extent into other

temperate regions of both hemispheres, but seems not to be known

anywhere in the wild state or as an escape from gardens. To judge from

its mention
in the Scriptures (Matthew xxiii, 23), it was highly

valued as a cultivated crop prior to our era, not only in Palestine,

but elsewhere in the East. Many Greek and Roman authors, especially

Dioscorides, Theophrastus, Pliny and Paladius, wrote more or less fully

of its cultivation and uses.

From their days to the present it seems to have enjoyed general

popularity. In the ninth century, Charlemagne commanded that it be grown

upon the imperial farms; in the thirteenth, Albertus Magnus speaks

highly of it; and since then many agricultural writers have devoted

attention to it. But though it has been cultivated for at least two

thousand years and is now extensively grown in Malta, Spain, southern

France, Russia, Germany and India, which mainly supply the market, it

seems not to have developed any improved varieties.

Description.--Its roots are white, spindle-shaped and rather fibrous;

its stems about 18 inches tall, branchy, erect, slender, cylindrical;

its root leaves lobed somewhat like those of celery; its stem leaves

more and more finely cut toward the upper part of the stem, near the top

of which they resemble fennel leaves in their finely divided segments;

its flowers yellowish white, small, rather large, in loose umbels

consisting of many umbellets; its fruits ("seeds") greenish-gray, small,

ovoid or oblong in outline, longitudinally furrowed and ridged on the

convex side, very aromatic, sweetish and pleasantly piquant.

Cultivation.--The seeds, which should be as fresh as possible, never

more than two years old, should be sown in permanent quarters as soon as

the weather becomes settled in early spring. They should be planted 1/2

inch deep, about 1/2 inch asunder, in drills 15 or 18 inches apart, and

the plants thinned when about 2 inches tall to stand 6 inches asunder.

An ounce of seed should plant about 150 feet of drill. The plants, which

do not transplant readily, thrive best in well-drained, light, rich,

rather dry, loamy soils well exposed to the sun. A light application of

well-rotted manure, careful preparation of the ground, clean and

frequent cultivation, are the only requisites in the management of this


In about four months from the sowing of the seed, and in about one month

from the appearance of the flowers, the plants may be pulled, or

preferably cut, for drying. (See page 25.) The climate and the soils in

the warmer parts of the northern states appear to be favorable to the

commercial cultivation of anise, which it seems should prove a

profitable crop under proper management.

Uses.--The leaves are frequently employed as a garnish, for flavoring

salads, and to a small extent as potherbs. Far more general, however, is

the use of the seeds, which enter as a flavoring into various

condiments, especially curry powders, many kinds of cake, pastry, and

confectionery and into some kinds of cheese and bread. Anise oil is

extensively employed for flavoring many beverages both alcoholic and

non-spirituous and for disguising the unpleasant flavors of various

drugs. The seeds are also ground and compounded with other fragrant

materials for making sachet powders, and the oil mixed with other fluids

for liquid perfumes. Various similar anise combinations are largely used

in perfuming soaps, pomatums and other toilet articles. The very

volatile, nearly colorless oil is usually obtained by distillation with

water, about 50 pounds of seed being required to produce one pound of

oil. At Erfurt, Germany, where much of the commercial oil is made, the

"hay" and the seeds are both used for distilling.