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Annual herb (Pimpinella anisum) of the parsley family, cultivated chiefly for its fruit, called aniseed, which tastes like licorice. Native to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean region, anise is cultivated throughout the world. Aniseed is used as a flavouring and as a soothing herbal tea. Star anise is the dried fruit of the evergreen tree Illicium verum (magnolia family), native to southeastern China and Vietnam. Its flavour and uses are similar to those of anise.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on anise, visit Britannica.com.