Anise, Pimpinella anisum
, is an herbaceous annual plant in the family Umbelliferae grown primarily for its fruits which are used as a spice. The plant has a grooved stem and alternately arranged leaves. The lower leaves are round with a toothed edge and petioles which can be between 4 and 10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) in length. The upper leaves are feathered and become progressively shorter towards the top of the plant. The aniseed plant produces umbels of white flowers and an oval, flattened, hairy fruit with a single seed. Anise can reach a height of 45–60 cm (17.7–23.6 in) and is an annual plant, surviving only one growing season. Anise may also be referred to as aniseed and originates from the Mediterranean.
Anise seeds are used as a spice in cooking or as a flavoring for confectionery. The leaves are used in the flavoring of alcoholic beverages such as raki. Leaves can also be eaten in salads.
Anise grows best in temperate and subtropical climates at temperatures between 6 and 24°C (42.8–75.2°F), with 12 to 18°C (53.6–64.4°F) being optimal for growth. The plants will not tolerate frost. Anise can be grown successfully in a range of soils and grows best when the pH is between 5.0 and 8.0. The plants will grow optimally in well-draining loam and do not perform well in sandy or heavy clay based soils.
Seedlings are sensitive to transplanting and therefore grow best if direct seeded outdoors. The seeds should be planted after all danger of frost has passed and benefit from being soaked overnight prior to planting to aid germination. The planting area should be prepared in advance by digging the soils to a fine tilth prior to sowing the seeds. The seeds should be sown to a depth between 1 to 3 cm (0.4–1.2 in) and if multiple plants are being grown, allow 2.5–15 cm (1.0–6.0 in) between individuals within the row and a further 15–90 cm (6.0–35.4 in) between rows. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely, aiming to keep the seedbed moist while the seeds germinate.
Anise seeds are ready to be harvested about a month after flowering when they have turned gray-brown in color. Harvest the seed heads by simply cutting with a pair of scissors or secateurs. Allow the seeds to dry by spreading them out in a sunny area. Once dry, store the seeds in an airtight container until use.
Penn State Extension (2014). Anise. College of Agricultural Sciences. Available at: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/herbs/anise. [Accessed 05 November 14]. Free to access
West Virginia University Extension Service (2014) Anise (Pimpinella anisum). Available at: anr.ext.wvu.edu [Accessed 05 November 2014, but link dead when checked November 2nd 2018]. Free to access
Common Pests and Diseases
Category : Fungal
Small round yellow, brown or black spots on leaves; concentric ringed pattern; holes in leaves where lesion has dropped out
Treat seeds with hot water prior to planting; prevent disease by keeping plants well watered; if disease emerges remove and destroy plant; remove all plant debris from soil as fungi can survive on pieces of plant
Yellow spots on upper surface of leaves; white fluffy growth on underside of leaves; lesions become darker as the mature.
Plant pathogen-free seed; do not overcrowd plants; rotate crops with non-umbelliferous varieties.
Powdery growth on leaves, petioles flowers stalks and bracts; leaves becoming chlorotic; severe infections can cause flowers to become distorted.
Plant tolerant varieties; avoid excess fertilization; protective fungicide applications provide adequate protection; sulfur application can be used in infection occurs early in season.
Light green discolored lesions on leaves which become chlorotic; yellow-orange pustules on underside of leaves; stems bend and become swollen or distorted; plants may be stunted.
Plant in well-draining soils to reduce humidity around plants; apply appropriate systemic fungicide.
Category : Insects
Aphids (Willow-carrot aphid)
Carrot-willow aphid colony
Carrot-willow aphid colony on stem
Small soft bodied insects on underside of leaves and/or stems of plant; usually green or yellow in color; if aphid infestation is heavy it may cause leaves to yellow and/or distorted, necrotic spots on leaves and/or stunted shoots; aphids secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew which encourages the growth of sooty mold on the plants.
If aphid population is limited to just a few leaves or shoots then the infestation can be pruned out to provide control; check transplants for aphids before planting; use tolerant varieties if available; reflective mulches such as silver colored plastic can deter aphids from feeding on plants; sturdy plants can be sprayed with a strong jet of water to knock aphids from leaves; insecticides are generally only required to treat aphids if the infestation is very high - plants generally tolerate low and medium level infestation; insecticidal soaps or oils such as neem or canola oil are usually the best method of control; always check the labels of the products for specific usage guidelines prior to use.
armyworm (Pseudaletia unipuncta) larvae
Singular, or closely grouped circular to irregularly shaped holes in foliage; heavy feeding by young larvae leads to skeletonized leaves; shallow, dry wounds on fruit; egg clusters of 50-150 eggs may be present on the leaves; egg clusters are covered in a whitish scale which gives the cluster a cottony or fuzzy appearance; young larvae are pale green to yellow in color while older larvae are generally darker green with a dark and light line running along the side of their body and a pink or yellow underside.
Organic methods of controlling armyworms include biological control by natural enemies which parasitize the larvae and the application of Bacillus thuringiensis; there are chemicals available for commercial control but many that are available for the home garden do not provide adequate control of the larvae.
Colorful larva of the variegated cutworm (Peridroma saucia).
Greasy cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon aneituma) adult
Cutworm severing plant stem
Stems of young transplants or seedlings may be severed at soil line; if infection occurs later, irregular holes are eaten into the surface of fruits; larvae causing the damage are usually active at night and hide during the day in the soil at the base of the plants or in plant debris of toppled plant; larvae are 2.5–5.0 cm (1–2 in) in length; larvae may exhibit a variety of patterns and coloration but will usually curl up into a C-shape when disturbed.
Remove all plant residue from soil after harvest or at least two weeks before planting, this is especially important if the previous crop was another host such as alfalfa, beans or a leguminous cover crop; plastic or foil collars fitted around plant stems to cover the bottom 3 inches above the soil line and extending a couple of inches into the soil can prevent larvae severing plants; hand-pick larvae after dark; spread diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants (this creates a sharp barrier that will cut the insects if they try and crawl over it); apply appropriate insecticides to infested areas of garden or field if not growing organically.
Category : Nematodes
Root knot nematode
Galls or nodules associated with the root system caused by root-knot nematodes.
Galls on roots which can be up to 3.3 cm (1 in) in diameter but are usually smaller; reduction in plant vigor; yellowing plants which wilt in hot weather.
Plant resistant varieties if nematodes are known to be present in the soil ;check roots of plants mid-season or sooner if symptoms indicate nematodes; solarizing soil can reduce nematode populations in the soil and levels of inoculum of many other pathogens.