Star Anise (Illicium verum)

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Illicium verum is the star of a legacy of flavorful dishes in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai cooking. You might be familiar with star anise if you’ve ever eaten Pho, Chinese five spice powder and many curries throughout India and beyond. This licorice-flavored spice is derived from an evergreen tree native to Vietnam and Southern China. Its charming, star-shaped fruits contain a fragrant chemical called anethole, which will rock your senses in savory and sweet recipes.

Star Anise is astronomically easy to grow. This evergreen, shrubby tree will hold color year-round, and is best suited for growing zones 8–11. It can survive temperature drops to at least 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The eight-pointed, star-shaped fruit pods are best picked slightly before maturation, and will maintain a vibrant, out-of-this-world flavor for up to one year. 

Fun Fact: Star Anise is in high demand for everything from cooking to contemporary medicine. 90 percent of Star Anise crops in the world today are used as source of shikimic acid, a chemical compound which is used to produce the anti-flu medication we know as Tamiflu®.

Plant Type:
Perennial Fruit Tree

Harvest Season:
Summer - Fall

Mature Size:
Up to 15 ft. tall

Soil & Moisture:
Rich, well-drained soil

Light Requirements:
Full Sun, Part Shade

Self-Fertile:
Yes

Growth Rate:
Very Fast

Zone Hardiness:
Outdoors 8-11 with frost protection; Patio/Greenhouse 4+

Propagation:
Large Pot Size: Capable of producing a harvest within 2-4 years.

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