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Foeniculum - Fennel

This genus in Apiaceae has 3 or so species, which are perennials or biennials native to the old world. The perennial species are deciduous and short lived, growing from deep taproots. Foeniculum vulgara a native to coastal areas in the Mediterranean but widely naturalized in Europe and North America, is commonly grown both as a herb garden subject and in the perennial border. The foliage is scented and feathery with pinnately compound leaves. Plants are upright growing, with small yellow flowers in terminal compound umbels. The dark foliage forms are excellent accent plants.

Florence fennel is typical a green leafed form that is an aromatic biennial. It has soft, lacey, hair-like foliage and swollen petioles that clasp around the main stalk forming an edible structure sometimes incorrectly called a “bulb”. This form grows about 2 feet tall the first year and the second year it blooms with the flowering stems growing around three feet tall. There a re a number of cultivars, including 'Rubrum' with bronze colored foliage, 'Romy' from Italy, and 'Zefo Fino'.

Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce is commonly called Sweet fennel. It is similar to the above types but instead of being a biennial, it is a hardy perennial that grows taller. The 6-foot tall plants also do not have the swollen leaf base or “bulb”. Sweet fennel is grown as an ornamental for it lacy fine foliage and upright habit. It is also grown for its leaves, which are used as a flavoring in soups, fish and candies plus other dishes.

Code Name Image Price  
24FO-A9 Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce 'Rubrum'   $2.45