Plant of the Week: Anise

Anise is a rapidly growing, large, evergreen, Florida native shrub that has medium- to coarse-textured, olive green, leathery leaves, and small, yellow flowers.

The many, slender, drooping branches of anise give a rounded, open canopy in the shade that is ideal for natural settings, or it can be pruned into dense hedges, screens, or windbreaks in sunny locations. Branches often root when they touch the ground and root sprouts appear several years after planting. This adds to the density of the shrub.

The slightly fragrant spring flowers are followed by brown, star-shaped, many-seeded pods that cling to the stems. The leaves of anise give off a distinctive fragrance of licorice when bruised or crushed.

Anise grows well in sun or shade but thins out in the shade. Anise appreciates rich soil and ample moisture but will easily survive harsher conditions. Anise is an easy-to-grow, pest-free shrub. Once established it will need watering only during long periods of drought and pruning once a year to maintain its shrub form. Plant on five- to seven-foot centers to establish an unpruned screen, closer for a tall clipped hedge. Allow plenty of room for this shrub. It grows too large for a residential foundation planting but can be pruned into a small, multi-stemmed tree.

Deer do not usually bother this plant. This variety of Anise has poor salt tolerance.