Fennel is a versatile plant that is an herb, spice and vegetable all in one! It is native to the Mediterranean area, and is a member of the carrot family whose entire plant is edible. With a bulb-like base, stalks like celery and dill-like fronds, fennel has a mild to moderate anise or licorice flavor and is an integral part of Italian cooking. Fennel roots can be used just like carrots, peeled and diced and added to soups. The bulb can be sliced and diced and either eaten raw or cooked. The stalk is tough so must be cooked to be eaten or used as a flavoring for soup stock and discarded. The fronds are great as an herb garnish for salads and other dishes, and finally, the seeds are used as seasoning and are included in mixes such as garam masala, Chinese five spice powder and in many Italian sausages. Not only can you eat Fennel, it is also prized as a host plant for the Eastern Black Swallowtail and Anise Swallowtail butterflies so be sure to add it to your butterfly garden and share the harvest with these pollinator gems! Fennel will need a well-drained location in full sun and kept consistently moist for best results.

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