Yellow Anise Tree, Illicium parviflorum

Illicium parviflorum, commonly called Yellow Anise Tree, is a large up-right, suckering evergreen. The genus name comes from the Latin illicium meaning allurement or inducement from the enticing aromatic scent.

Anise can reach 15-feet tall by 10-feet wide. Native to southeastern U.S., it has been destroyed completely in Georgia due to loss of habitat. Commonly found in moist woods and swamp lands in Florida, it spreads by root suckers to form colonies. It is now considered a threatened species in Florida.

Anise is in the family Schisandraceae and is a vigorous grower. It prefers shade and moist, rich soil. The branches may root where they touch the ground. The flowers are insignificant, and the fruit is a star-shaped cluster of follicles. This plant is poisonous to humans and to livestock. The leaves are shiny, elliptical, and olive-green. They emit an anise-like aroma when crushed. It is not a substitute for star anise. Anise is not bothered by deer and rabbits.

Anise will soon be planted in the Brunswick County Botanical Garden.

Information and Photos by Jeanne Pavero