Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Edible plants: Fennel


Fennel in bloom

Fennel with its aniseed aroma and feathery foliage has got to be one of my favourite herbs. It grows wild in Tenerife in many places too and I can't pass by a clump of the plant without being able to resist eating some of its fresh leaves or the very tasty seeds. I simply cannot end up crushing some of it up in my hand and inhaling the wonderful perfume. I love Fennel!

Fennel is one of many common wild flowers that is edible and nutritious. It is a herb that foragers would look out for. Of course, when gathering wild plants to eat or use in herbal medicine it is vitally important to be able to identify those that are safe to consume. There are some plants out there that can make us very sick and some that can be lethal. Some relatives on the Fennel in the Apiaceae or Parsley family come into this dangerous category. Fools Parsley and Hemlock are tow of the deadly ones.  Fortunately Fennel is very easy to identify. It has a distinctive aroma that poisonous plants that look a bit like it do not have. That is one way of checking if you have found a true Fennel: crush some of the leaves or flowers and see if there is a pleasant perfume that reminds you of Anise.

Fennel grows on waste ground, in grassy places and by the sea. It is often found in large clumps and its fine feathery foliage and tall flowering stems are what to look out for.

You can read more here: Edible plants: Fennel

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