Anise (Pimpinella anisum), also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavour has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice.
Aniseed is an herbaceous annual plant growing to 3 ft or more tall. Anise was first cultivated in Egypt and the Middle East, and was brought to Europe for its medicinal value.
Aniseed plants grow best in light, fertile, well-drained soil.
Western cuisines have long used aniseed to flavour dishes, drinks, and sweets. The word is used for both the species of herb and its liquorice-like flavour. The most powerful flavour component of the essential oil of aniseed, anethole, is found in both aniseed and an unrelated spice indigenous to northern China called star anise (Illicium verum) widely used in South Asian, Southeast Asian, and East Asian dishes. Star anise is considerably less expensive to produce, and has gradually displaced P. anisum in Western markets.