Illicium spp.

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Name and publication

Illicium verum Hook. f., Bot. Mag. 114: t. 7005 (1888).


Illicium fruits show up in potpourri, and they are most probably I. verum, the Chinese star-anise, but there is some admixture with the poisonous I. anisatum L. (I. religiosum Siebold & Zucc.), the Japanese star-anise. These pinwheel-shaped whorls of woody, dehiscent follicles, 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter, are anise-scented upon crushing. The fruits of Japanese star-anise are somewhat smaller, more compact, and more shrunken but otherwise extremely difficult to identify by morphology alone.

Nativity and distribution

Illicium verum is native to China and Vietnam.