Fennel: The Renaissance Plant

 

Besides being a vegetable, either wild or cultivated, Fennel is also both a herb and a spice.  Fennel is widely cultivated for its edible, strongly flavored leaves and seeds.  It’s aniseed flavor is similar to anise and star anise, but not as strong.Fennel-Bronze

Fennel is lovely in the garden with its graceful fernlike yellow or bronze flowers. This is a beautiful, drought-resistant perennial that bears very finely textured foliage.  It sets off beautifully against rosemary and blueberries.

Fennel with Blueberries

Fennel with Blueberries

Fennel is also a butterfly magnet — and many other beneficials too.  The flowers lure a host of beneficial, beautiful bugs — from butterflies and ladybird beetles to bees and hoverflies.

Fennelbronze-fennel-Butterfly

Green lacewings, aphid predators, gravitate to fennel, making the herb a great companion for roses and other aphid favorites.  Black swallowtail butterflies lay eggs on fennel. Look for black, green, and yellow striped caterpillars munching their way along stems.

 

 

black-swallowtail-caterpillar-fennel-c2a9kim-smith-2013

Fennel really makes a statement in a garden and is a beautiful landscape plant if you decide you don’t want to harvest from it.

Fennel-Bronze

 

 

 

Next up, Fennel Doesn’t Always Play Nice. . .