Monday, January 26, 2015

Irrestible Allurements . . .

Any plant that smells like anise is like catnip to me. I find anise an intoxicating scent.

So of course I had to have an Anise Tree. It's sometimes called Yellow Anisetree.

It is Illicium parviflorum, and the one I bought is called  'Florida Sunshine'.

"Illicium" means allurement in Latin -- it comes from the word for irresistible. Yes.

The foliage is supposed to smell like anise when crushed.

It is a bright chartreuse yellow leaved cultivar that remains evergreen, so it makes a lovely cheerful sight in the winter garden.

Debs Garden has a nice profile of this plant.

The problem is that it is not hardy here. It is a southern plant, really zone 7, and the only way it works for me is in a pot.

So I have it in a container, and it is on the porch, protected. That doesn't fulfill its purpose to brighten the winter garden with Florida sunshine just when I need it most.

But I could not resist the allure of anise scent.

The best I can do is put the pot out in summer under the maple tree in Meadow's Edge, where in summertime it can brighten the dark recesses of that garden.

In full sun (as long as it gets moisture) it will be yellower and fuller, and in shade looser and darker green. Since it will be in a container I can move it about and see what suits it best.

It can grow to 10 feet or more, it grows upright and conical with little pruning. It will form a suckering colony, but in a container that won't happen, and the size will be much less. But I am hoping I get a big, full, leafy plant.

Right now, as a nor'easter blizzard bears down on New England today, I could really use some Florida sunshine out there.

My little one, in a pot on the porch, will have to do.

This is not star anise (Illicium verum), so the star shaped fruits are not for culinary use. And it is not the stinky-flowered Florida Anisetree (Illicium floridanum), which smells awful when blooming.

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