About Anise: One of the most ancient herbs, anise is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. In ancient Palestine, anise was highly valued and used as a form of currency for payment of taxes. In the United States, anise has been grown since the fourteenth century. In England in 1305, anise was so popular as a spice or medicine that King Edward I put a tax on it to raise money to repair London Bridge. Anise seeds have a wide variety of medicinal uses and are rich in volatile oil, flavonoids and other important nutrients. The distinctive flavor of anise can be found in licorice as well as certain kinds of cookies, bread, sausage, and cheese; almost every culture has a special confection that contains this sweet herb.
Anise Germination: Since anise does not take well to transplanting, it should either be direct sown or grown as a container plant. When the soil reaches a temperature of 68 degrees F, plant the seeds in full sun and well drained soil, 1/4" deep and 12-15" apart in rows 2' apart. For companion planting benefits, plant anise with coriander; this improves the germination and growth of the anise.
Growing Anise Seeds: Anise needs little attention once established. Keep the ground weed free, and water the plants if the soil dries out completely.
Harvesting Anise: Harvest fresh leaves and flowers as needed. For drying, cut the entire plant before it flowers and hang it upside down to dry.
Saving Anise Seeds: Harvest the seed heads individually as soon as they begin to turn brown, and spread them out to dry in a protected location out of direct sunlight. Thresh out the seeds by rubbing or shaking the heads, and remove as much chaff as possible. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Anise Info: Pimpinella anisum. Also known as Aniseed. Annual. 120 days. Zone 4-9.12,000 seeds per oz. 24-36" height. 12-15" spacing. Produces feathery, fern-like foliage with numerous heads of clustered white flowers.