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Star Anise

(Illicium verum)

Other Names: Badiya, Badian, Bajiao, Hoa hoi

The star anise tree is a small to medium, grows to 5 m, rounded, evergreen tree with glossy foliage. Flowers are small and greenish white to pink or purple with a central boss of stamens which are followed by aromatic seed pods that open out into a star shape when ripe. The essential oil and the ground spice, star anise, are extracted from the brown pods and the seeds.

The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and to a lesser degree in Indian and South Asian cooking. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking. Star anise contains anethole, the same ingredient which gives the unrelated anise its flavour.

Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for colic and rheumatism, and the seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion. It is also used as a sedative, especially for nervousness and to induce sleep.

Will grow well both in full sun or part shade.

Does best in very well in light, well-drained moist soil.


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