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Foeniculum vulgare

Foeniculum vulgare Mill.

Foeniculum foeniculum (L.) Karst.

Fennel, Sweet Fennel

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderApialesIncludes carrots, celery, parsley, and ivy
FamilyApiaceaeCarrot or parsley family, also includes angelica, anise, caraway, celery, chervil, cicely, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, hemlock, lovage, Queen Anne’s Lace, parsnip
GenusFoeniculumA diminutive of the Latin word foenum, “hay,” because of the smell
SpeciesvulgareLatin for “common”

About plant names...

Fennel is native to northern Africa, Asia and Europe, and long naturalized in North America, where it is common to invasive in grasslands, coastal scrub, along riverbanks, and in wetlands.

Plants: 4-6½' (1.2-2 m) × 18-36" (45-91 cm). Stems are hairless and slippery.

Leaves: Leaves are fine and threadlike, branched extensively, and hairless. They are up to 16" (40 cm) long and half a millimeter wide.

Flowers: Large yellow umbels up to 6" (15 cm), on haphazardly spaced rays. Flowers appear from June to July.

Fruits: Brownish or greenish gray, roughly cylindrical, strongly ribbed, ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) × ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1.5-2 mm). Seeds ripen from September to October.

Edibility: Wild fennel doesn’t produce a bulb like its cultivated derivatives, but the greens and seeds have the same licorice flavor. Young fronds are boiled for ten minutes, drained, and use whole or minced. They are mixed with other greens, used as a flavorant to pasta or soups. The seeds are used to flavor some sausages.

Medical: According to the Physician’s Desk Referrence for Herbal Medicines, fennel is “approved by Commission E for:

  • cough
  • bronchitis
  • dyspeptic complaints

Peptic discomforts, such as mild, spastic disorders of the gastrointenstinal tract, feeling of fullness, flatulence; cat­arrh of the upper respiratory tract.”

There are a number of other unproven uses.

Online References:

Foeniculum vulgare on www.eattheweeds.com

Foeniculum vulgare at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Foeniculum vulgare at the Bugwood Wiki

Foeniculum vulgare on www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

References:

Multiple Authors, PDR for Herbal Medicines, Thomson Healthcare Inc., 2007, p. 317

Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel, Sweet Fennel)

6/12/2007 · Near Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, CA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Foeniculum vulgare description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 3 Jul 2017.

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Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel, Sweet Fennel)

6/12/2007 · Near Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, CA
≈ 22 × 33" (55 × 82 cm)

Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel, Sweet Fennel)

6/12/2007 · Near Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, CA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel, Sweet Fennel)

6/12/2007 · Sausalito, CA
≈ 20 × 13" (49 × 33 cm)

Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel, Sweet Fennel)

6/12/2007 · Near Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, CA
≈ 33 × 22" (84 × 56 cm)

Range: Zones 4-9:

About this map...