Illicium anisatum L.

Illicium anisatum L.




Illicium religiosum Siebold & Zucc.

Vernacular Names

English Japanese star anise, star anise.
Indonesia Adas jepang, adas cina.
Philippines Sanke, sanki (Tagalog).
French Anis du Japon.

Geographical Distributions

Illicium anisatum occurs wild and it is also cultivated in Japan, southern China and Taiwan. It was introduced into Japan a long time ago by Buddhist priests. It does not occur naturally in Southeast Asia.


I. anisatum is an evergreen shrub or small tree that can reach up to 8 m tall. The wood and leaves are highly aromatic.

The leaves are arranged alternately, simple, narrowly ovate to lance-shaped, measuring 4-12 cm x 1.5-5 cm, wedge-shaped at the base, tapering, blunt at the apex, entire and coriaceous. The petiole is 0.7-2 cm long. The stipules are absent.

The flowers are an axillary, sometimes solitary, usually crowded, bisexual, regular, measuring 2.5-3 cm in diametre, with perianth lobes are 12-15(-30), arranged spirally, slender, acute, measure 3 mm wide and pale yellow to white. The pedicel is 0.5-1.5 cm long. The stamens are (16-)18-20(-25) and arranged spirally. The carpels are 7-9(-10) and arranged in a single row.

The fruit is a capsule-like follicetum, measuring 2.5-3 cm in diametre, consisting of an aggregate of 7-8 follicles and arranged around a central axis in the shape of a star. Each follicle is boat-shaped and 1-seeded.

The seed is obovate-ellipsoid, measures 6-7 mm long, smooth, glossy, yellowish and contains copious endosperm.

Ecology / Cultivation

In natural habitat, I. anisatum is found in moist evergreen broad-leaved forest at 1000-2500 m altitudes.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.