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Star Anise - Illicium Verum - Characterization And Quick Facts About The Herb

Star Anise - Illicium Verum - Characterization And Quick Facts About The Herb

Star Anise is a dark brown and rust-colored seed pod measuring 1–3 cm in size. 

The pods have a unique star shape, with 6–8 pronged arms stretching outward from a central axis, tapering to a point at each end. 

Star Anise - Illicium Verum - Characterization And Quick Facts About The Herb

The prongs are often split slightly open, with each arm containing one pea-sized seed. 

The star-shaped pods have an intense, licorice-like aroma with a distinct and robust warm, sweet, and spicy flavor with prevalent notes of anise, mint, and clove.

Illicium verum is a medium-sized evergreen tree native to northeast Vietnam and southwest China

A spice commonly called star anisestaranisestar anise seedstar aniseedChinese star anise, or badian that closely resembles anise in flavor is obtained from the star-shaped pericarps of the fruit of I. verum which are harvested just before ripening. 

Star anise oil is a highly fragrant oil used in cooking, perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams. 

Leaves are aromatic, simple and lanceolate, obovate-elliptic or elliptic, size of 5–15 cm × 2–5 cm, coriaceous to thickly coriaceous.[5] 

The leaves are 5–15 cm × 1.5–5 cm, apex acute, lower side pubescent.[5] 

Flowers are solitary, bisexual, pink to dark red, axillary or subterminal.[5] 

The perianth has lobes 7–12, arranged spirally; stamens number of 11–20, arranged spirally, with short, thick filaments; carpels usually 8, free, arranged in a single whorl. 

Flower peduncle size is 1.5–4 cm, tepals number range from seven to twelve, and are broadly elliptic to broadly ovate, anthers size is 1–1.5 mm, pollen grains trisyncolpate.[5][6]

The fruit is a capsule-like follicetum, star-shaped, reddish- brown, consisting of six to eight follicles arranged in a whorl.[5] 

Each follicle is boat-shaped, 1–2 cm long, rough and rigid, color reddish-brown, with 1 seed, opening along the ventral edge when ripe.[5] carpels size of 10 mm long, boat-shaped; they are hard and wrinkled, containing one seed. 

Seeds are brown, compressed ovoid, smooth, shiny and brittle with approximate size of 8–9 mm × 6 mm.[5][6]

Differences with similar taxa: Illicium anisatum had smaller fruits that does not form a regular star due to the abortion of some carpels. 

Also fruit follicles are not swollen in the middle and had a more pointed apex. 

Also usually had more than 8 follicles and the fruit has weaker odour. The seeds in Illicium anisatum are flat or almost spherical.[5][6]

Source: Wikipedia