Anise Hyssop Plant or

Anise Hyssop Plant or

Anise Hyssop Plant

Anise is an herbaceous annual plant growing to 90 cm (3 ft) or more. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 10–50 mm (3⁄8–2 in) long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous small leaflets. The flowers are either white or yellow, approximately Anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well-drained soil. The seeds should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Because the plants have a taproot, they do not transplant well after being established, so they should either be started in their final location or be transplanted while the seedlings are still small.



Anise has a licorice flavor that is sweet, mildly spicy, and very aromatic. This flavor is produced by anethole, an organic compound related to estragole, which produces flavors in tarragon and basil. One key characteristic of anethole is that it is very soluble in alcohol but only slightly soluble in water. As a result, when you add water to liqueurs that contain anise extract, the drink turns cloudy. This is known as the ouzo effect after one of the characteristic anise-flavored liqueurs. The tiny, aromatic, sage green fruits of this Old World herb (Pimpinella anisum) emanated a vaguely dusty, licorice-like scent. Their sweet anthole-based flavor has been confused with that of fennel, star anise, wintergreen, and even dill. Although some native Latin American herbs with similar taste profiles are called yerba anís, true anise (also known as aniseed) is native to the Levant. It was quickly dispersed throughout the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor, and was well established in Greece by the fourth century BCE. In ancient Rome, Pliny observed that “be it green or dried, it is wanted for all conserves and seasonings.

At the same time, he painfully recalled to me that when he was exactly my age, he had been jailed briefly for selling some of his own uncle’s bootleg arak to a plain-clothes policeman! His father and my grandfather had grown up distilling the fermented juices of grapes in the Bekáa Valley and curing their distillate with antiseeds specially gorwn and harvested by Bedouins in the Houran region of Syria. To this day, Syria remains the largest producer of amiseeds in the world, as well as the place where wild anise is most valued. Although some scholars have argued that most languages spoken in and near Europe share anis as a loan word from either the Latin (anisum) or the Greek (anison), I would argue that its roots are older and in the Semitic languages. The Hebrew anis and the Arabic terms anisun and yansun are less likely to be loan words from Greek or Roman than the other way around. Farsi also uses anisun. In fact, the handful of the world’s languages that do not use a variant of anis imply that anise is a sweet form of fennel, dill, cumin, or star anise. In south-central Asian, a few languages like Sansrit refer to anise descriptively as “a hundred flowers,” but the similarly spelled terms in Thai, Telugu, and Sinhala may also refer to dill. (Source:iwp.uiowa.edu)



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