T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Genus: Foeniculum
Species: F. vulgare
Binomial name: Foeniculum vulgare
Common name: Fennel

Fennel is a hardy perennial herb with an aniseed-like aroma and is a species native to the Mediterranean region and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal east to Pakistan, and north to southern France and Bulgaria.
This herb has historically had many medicinal and culinary uses and both the Greek and Hindu traditions regard fennel as good for the sex drive; it has been called the pearl of aphrodisiacs. It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable. 
Early settlers in New Zealand introduced fennel and it has now naturalized from North Cape to Bluff. It grows so prolifically in this South Pacific climate that it is considered a weed, but it is attractive to bees. This honey has been harvested by Beekeepers from areas where swathes of wild fennel grow near the Wairarapa coast on the lower western side of the North Island.

Photographed of wild fennel growing alongside the motorway at Bellblock, New Plymouth (February).
 

Plant before flowering

 







Fennel flowers with a common wasp (Vespula vulgaris))



Young fennel