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Pimpinella anisum L.

Pimpinella anisum L.




Apium anisum (L.) Crantz, Anisum vulgare Gaertner, Anisum officinarum Moench.

Vernacular Names


Jintan manis.


Anise, aniseed, sweet cumin.


Jinten manis.




Anis vert, boucage, pimpinelle.

Geographical Distributions

Pimpinella anisum probably originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. It is known to have been used by the ancient Egyptians about 1500 BC; the Greeks and Romans also used it. Later on, it was brought to India via Persia. P. anisum, which is known in the spice trade as 'seeds' found their way to China (Canton) in 1200 AD through a shipment from Java; the fruits had not been produced in Java but had come from much farther west. It is cultivated nowadays in a wide range of countries, especially in southern Europe (in particular Spain and Italy), the former Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iran, northern Africa, India, China, Japan, Chili, Argentina and Mexico, and is often naturalised. P. anisum fruits are used in Southeast Asia, but the crop does not grow satisfactorily in tropical lowlands. Only very occasionally is P. aniusm grown in Southeast Asia.


Pimpinella anisum is an aromatic, erect, annual herb, up to (10-)15-50(-90) cm tall, with grooved stem and patently hairy.

The leaves are arranged alternately and entire to pinnately compound. The petiole is 4-10 cm long in lower leaves while gradually becoming shorter to absent in uppermost leaves and always sheathing at base. The blade of lower leaves is orbicular-kidney-shaped and dentately lobed while the middle leaves blade is pinnate or 3-foliolate with incised leaflets. The blade of uppermost leaves is 3-partite and subsessile.

The inflorescence is terminal and leaf-opposed while the umbel is compound. The peduncle is 2.5-7 cm long. The involucre of bracts is absent or short and 1-2-foliolate. There are 4-15 primary rays which are 0.5-2.5 cm long and hairy. There are also 7-13 secondary rays (pedicels) which are 1-5 mm long while the flowers are bisexual. The sepal is indistinct. The 5 obovate-cordate petal is 1-1.5 mm long, with ciliate margin and inflexed apex. There are 5 stamens. The filaments are longer than petals and apex is inflexed. The pistil is with inferior, bilocular, 2-carpelled ovary and 2 styles, each with swollen stylopodium at base and globular stigma at the top.

The fruit is a schizocarp, ovoid, measures 3-5 mm long, with short hairs and at maturity it splits into 2 mericarps. The mericarp is 5-ribbed, with numerous oil ducts and containing a single seed. The fruit wall is connate with seed testa.

Ecology / Cultivation

Pimpinella anisum can be grown in temperate and subtropical climates, but does not grow well under tropical lowland conditions. It requires a frost-free growing season of about 120 days. It grows under conditions ranging from 1000-2000 mm average annual rainfall and mean annual temperatures of (6-)12-18(-24)ÂșC. Moisture requirements are highest in the period from stem emergence to flowering. Temperature and rainfall should be rather uniform because it is unfavorably affected by sudden changes in both. P. anisum can be grown in a wide range of soils, from sandy to clayey loams with a pH of 5-8, but it thrives on well-drained, moderate to heavy loams with adequate water-holding capacity. The sandy soils and heavy clay soils are unsuitable.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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  1)  Essential Oil


  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.13: Spices.

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