University of Maryland Extension

Herbs - Fennel

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Fennel (Foeniculum dulce)

Fennel foliage
Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org 

Description

Fennel is a perennial (but usually grown as an annual) that grows to about 3 to 4 feet in height. The leaves are finely divided into thread-like segments and are light green in color.

Culture

Fennel grows easily from seed planted in the garden is spring. Sow in full sun. Space rows 3 feet apart. Thin plants 10 to 12 inches apart and stake when 18 inches tall to protect from wind.

Harvesting

Pick seeds when ripe. The best stems for eating are the tender flower stalks just before they blossom.

Use

Fennel seeds are used as a condiment. The leaves have an anise-like flavor and the stems can be eaten like celery. Seeds can be used in cheese spreads and vegetable dished. Don’t confuse with bulb fennel.

 

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