University of Maryland Extension

Bronze Fennel

Article: Lew Shell Photo: Gerald Klingaman

Foeniculum vulgare Pupureum 

Attributes of this herb abound. The feathery foliage provides an attractive contrast to other plants plus a delicious anise flavor to salads and desserts. The seeds are equally flavorful in a wide variety of culinary delights.  As fennel grows to four or five feet tall, its yellow-bronze umbelliferous flowers provide nectar that attracts numerous insects, especially predator insects—a most desirable trait in the vegetable garden. (Don’t confuse this herb with bulb fennel. It never produces a bulb.) Fennel prefers full sun, well-drained soil and consistent moisture.  It will reseed readily and may require some thinning, but you’ll want to grow extra anyway, because it’s a favorite food for the beautiful caterpillars that turn into black swallowtail butterflies.


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