The Seeds Are Used In Cookery Confectionery And For Flavoring Liquors

Oil of fennel, a pale yellow liquid, with a sweetish aromatic odor and

flavor, is distilled with water. It is used in perfumery and for

scenting soaps. A pound of oil is the usual yield of 500 pounds of the


TTITLE Finocchio

or =Florence fennel= (F. dulce, D. C.), deserves special

mention here. It appears to be a native of Italy, a distinct dwarf

annual, very thick-set her
. The stem joints are so close together and

their bases so swelled as to suggest malformation. Even when full grown

and producing seed, the plant rarely exceeds 2 feet. The large, finely

cut, light green leaves are borne on very broad, pale green or almost

whitish stalks, which overlap at their bases, somewhat like celery, but

much more swelled at edible maturity, to form a sort of head or

irregular ball, the "apple," as it is called, sometimes as large as a

man's fist. The seeds are a peculiar oblong, much broader than long,

convex on one side and flat on the other, with five conspicuous ribs.

Cultivation is much the same as for common fennel, though owing to the

dwarf nature of the plant the rows and the plants may be closer

together. The seedlings should be 5 or 6 inches asunder. They are very

thirsty things and require water frequently. When the "apple" attains

the size of an egg, earth may be drawn up slightly to the base, which

may be about half covered; cutting may begin about 10 days later.

Florence fennel is generally boiled and served with either a butter or a

cream dressing. It suggests celery in flavor, but is sweeter and is even

more pleasingly fragrant. In Italy it is one of the commonest and most

popular of vegetables. In other European countries it is also well

known, but in America its cultivation is almost confined to Italian

gardens or to such as supply Italian demands in the large cities. In New

York it is commonly sold by greengrocers and pushcart men in the Italian


TTITLE Fennel Flower

(Nigella sativa, Linn.), an Asiatic annual, belonging to

the Ranunculaceae, grown to a limited extent in southern Europe, but

scarcely known in America. Among the Romans it was esteemed in cookery,

hence one of its common names, Roman coriander. The plant has a rather

stiff, erect, branching stem, bears deeply cut grayish-green leaves and

terminal grayish-blue flowers, which precede odd, toothed, seed vessels

filled with small, triangular, black, highly aromatic seeds. For garden

use the seed is sown in spring after the ground gets warm. The drills

may be 15 to 18 inches apart and the plants thinned to 10 or 12 inches

asunder. No special attention is necessary until midsummer, when the

seed ripens. These are easily threshed and cleaned. After drying they

should be stored in sacks in a cool, dry place. They are used just as

they are or like dill in cookery.

TTITLE Hoarhound

or =horehound= (Marrubium vulgare, Linn.), a perennial plant

of the natural order Labiatae, formerly widely esteemed in cookery and

medicine, but now almost out of use except for making candy which some

people still eat in the belief that it relieves tickling in the throat

due to coughing. In many parts of the world hoarhound has become

naturalized on dry, poor soils, and is even a troublesome weed in such

situations. Bees are very partial to hoarhound nectar, and make a

pleasing honey from the flowers where these are abundant. This honey has

been almost as popular as hoarhound candy, and formerly was obtainable

at druggists. Except in isolated sections, it has ceased to be sold in

the drug stores. The generic name Marrubium is derived from a Hebrew

word meaning bitter. The flavor is so strong and lasting that the modern

palate wonders how the ancient mouth could stand such a thing in


The numerous branching, erect stems and the almost square, toothed,

grayish-green leaves are covered with a down from which the common name

hoarhound is derived. The white flowers, borne in axillary clusters

forming whorls and spikes, are followed by small, brown, oblong seeds

pointed at one end. These may be sown up to the third year after

ripening with the expectation that they will grow. Spring is the usual

time for sowing. A dry, poor soil, preferably exposed to the south,

should be chosen. The plants may stand 12 to 15 inches apart. After once

becoming established no further attention need be given except to

prevent seed forming, thus giving the plant less chance to become a

nuisance. Often the clumps may be divided or layers or cuttings may be

used for propagation. No protection need be given, as the plants are


An old author gives the following recipe for hoarhound candy: To one

pint of a strong decoction of the leaves and stems or the roots add 8 or

10 pounds of sugar. Boil to candy height and pour into molds or small

paper cases previously well dusted with finely powdered lump sugar, or

pour on dusted marble slabs and cut in squares.


(Hyssopus officinalis, Linn.), a perennial evergreen undershrub

of the Labiatae, native of the Mediterranean region. Though well known in

ancient times, this plant is probably not the one known as hyssop in

Biblical writings. According to the Standard Dictionary the Biblical

"hyssop" is "an unidentified plant ... thought by some to have been a

species of marjoram (Origanum maru); by others, the caper-bush

(Capparis spinosa); and by the author of the 'History of Bible

Plants,' to have been the name of any common article in the form of a

brush or a broom." In ancient and medieval times hyssop was grown for

its fancied medicinal qualities, for ornament and for cookery. Except

for ornament, it is now very little cultivated. Occasionally it is found

growing wild in other than Mediterranean countries.

Description.--The smooth, simple stems, which grow about 2 feet tall,

bear lanceolate-linear, entire leaves and small clusters of usually

blue, though sometimes pink or white flowers, crowded in terminal

spikes. The small, brown, glistening three-angled seeds, which have a

little white hilum near their apices, retain their viability three

years. Leaves, stems and flowers possess a highly aromatic odor and a

hot, bitter flavor.

Cultivation.--Hyssop succeeds best in rather warm, limy soil. It may

be readily propagated by division, cuttings, and seed. In cold climates

the last way is the most common. Seed is sown in early spring, either in

a cold frame or in the open ground, and the seedlings transplanted in

early summer. Even where the plants survive the winters, it is advisable

to renew them every three or four years. When grown in too rich soil,

the growth will be very lush and will lack aroma. Plants should stand

not closer than 6 inches in the rows, which should be at least 18 inches

apart. They do best in partial shade.

Uses.--Hyssop has almost entirely disappeared from culinary practice

because it is too strong-flavored. Its tender leaves and shoots are,

however, occasionally added to salads, to supply a bitter taste. The

colorless oil distilled from the leaves has a peculiar odor and an

acrid, camphorescent taste. Upon contact with the air it turns yellow

and changes to a resin. From 400 to 500 pounds of the fresh plant yield

a pound of oil. The oil is used to some extent in the preparation of

toilet articles.

TTITLE Lavender