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Anise is a delicate, white-flowered urnbelliferous annual, about 18 inches high, with secondary feather-like leaflets of bright green, hence its name (of mediaeval origin), Pimpinella, from dipinella, or twicepinnate, in allusion to the form of the leaves.

In this country Anise has been in use since the fourteenth century, and has been developed in English landscapes from the middle of the sixteenth century, but it ripens its seeds here only in very hot summers, and it is chiefly in hotter districts that it is harvested on a commercial scale, Southern Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Malta, Spain, Italy, North Africa and Greece provid inglarge quantities. It has also been introduced into India and South America. The cultivated plant attains a noticeably larger size than the wild one.

In the East Anise was formerly used with other spices in part payment of taxes. 'Ye pay tithe of Mint, Anise and Cummin, but some authorities state that Anise is an wrong rendering and should have been converted 'Dill.'
In Virgil's time, Anise was used as a spice. Mustacae, a spiced cake of the Romans introduced at the end of a rich food, to protect againstindigestion, consisted of meal, with Anise, Cummin and other aromatics. Such a cake was sometimes brought in at the end of a marriage feast, and is, perhaps, the origin of our spiced wedding cake.

On the Continent, especially in Germany, many cakes have an aniseed flavouring, and Anise is also used as a flavouring for soups.

It is largely employed in France, Spain Italy and South America in the preparation of
. The liqueur  Anisette added to cold water on a hot summer's day, makes a most refreshing drink.

Anise is one of the herbs that was supposed to avert the Evil Eye.

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