Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Foeniculum foeniculum (L.) Karst.
Fennel, Sweet Fennel
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:
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.
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
Foeniculum vulgare description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.
Range: Zones 4-9: