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Plant Profile: Bronze Fennel

Excerpt from Wikipedia: Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

It is a highly flavorful herb used in cooking and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.

Uses: Pickled stems, baked goods, Italian sausages, herbal seasoning, and herbal tea.

Companions: Yarrow, echinacea, ornamental onion, globe thistle, feathertop grass, and zinnia.

Habitat: Thrives in dry, sunny conditions along roadsides, pastures, and in open areas. They are important host plants for swallowtail butterflies and attract birds and beneficial insects.

Harvest: Foliage can be harvested at any time and used fresh or dried and seeds should be harvested when they turn brown on the stalk.

Fun Fact: The Romans used fennel as a digestive aid, while in traditional Chinese medicine, fennel was used to treat snake bites.

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You can also sprinkle the pollen on salads, desserts, and various foods to impart a floral anise flavor.

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