Florida Anise is a broadleaf evergreen that can reach up to 10 feet tall in warmer climates. Here is North Georgia (Zone 7) it usually only reaches to 5 or 6 feet tall. Although it is native to south Georgia and Florida, it has adapted to the original Cherokee homeland here in North Georgia and Eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Many people often ask, “If it is not original to the Cherokee homeland why were they using it?” We need to realize that the Cherokee had extensive trading routes throughout the Southeast and even further west toward the Mississippi River.
The leaves are dark green and up to six inches long. The flowers are very fragrant and when the leaves are crushed they emit an anise like fragrance. The fruit is star shaped and often seen in clusters. The botanical name comes from the Latin name illicium meaning allure or entice from Aromatic scent.
The Cherokee would use a tea from the leaves and roots to treat colds and coughs. It was also used as an expectorant.
The Cherokee Garden here in Cobb County, Georgia has two Florida Anise shrubs. We were excited to see them bloom this year since this was our first blooms. They will need some attention the first year but once they are established will do nicely. We have our planted in part shade.