Anise

Pimpinella anisum

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Description

Anise, Pimpinella anisum, is an herbaceous annual plant in the family Umbelliferae grown primarily for its fruits which are used as a spice. The plant has a grooved stem and alternately arranged leaves. The lower leaves are round with a toothed edge and petioles which can be between 4 and 10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) in length. The upper leaves are feathered and become progressively shorter towards the top of the plant. The aniseed plant produces umbels of white flowers and an oval, flattened, hairy fruit with a single seed. Anise can reach a height of 45–60 cm (17.7–23.6 in) and is an annual plant, surviving only one growing season. Anise may also be referred to as aniseed and originates from the Mediterranean.

Uses

Anise seeds are used as a spice in cooking or as a flavoring for confectionery. The leaves are used in the flavoring of alcoholic beverages such as raki. Leaves can also be eaten in salads.

Propagation


Basic requirements
Anise grows best in temperate and subtropical climates at temperatures between 6 and 24°C (42.8–75.2°F), with 12 to 18°C (53.6–64.4°F) being optimal for growth. The plants will not tolerate frost. Anise can be grown successfully in a range of soils and grows best when the pH is between 5.0 and 8.0. The plants will grow optimally in well-draining loam and do not perform well in sandy or heavy clay based soils.

Propagation
Seedlings are sensitive to transplanting and therefore grow best if direct seeded outdoors. The seeds should be planted after all danger of frost has passed and benefit from being soaked overnight prior to planting to aid germination. The planting area should be prepared in advance by digging the soils to a fine tilth prior to sowing the seeds. The seeds should be sown to a depth between 1 to 3 cm (0.4–1.2 in) and if multiple plants are being grown, allow 2.5–15 cm (1.0–6.0 in) between individuals within the row and a further 15–90 cm (6.0–35.4 in) between rows. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely, aiming to keep the seedbed moist while the seeds germinate.

Harvesting
Anise seeds are ready to be harvested about a month after flowering when they have turned gray-brown in color. Harvest the seed heads by simply cutting with a pair of scissors or secateurs. Allow the seeds to dry by spreading them out in a sunny area. Once dry, store the seeds in an airtight container until use.

Diseases

Alternaria blight Fungi Alternaria spp.

Symptoms

Small round yellow, brown or black spots on leaves; concentric ringed pattern; holes in leaves where lesion has dropped out

Comments

Spread by seed; poor air circulation favors spread

Management

Treat seeds with hot water prior to planting; prevent disease by keeping plants well watered; if disease emerges remove and destroy plant; remove all plant debris from soil as fungi can survive on pieces of plant

Aphids (Willow-carrot aphid) Insect Cavariella aegopodii

Symptoms

Small soft bodied insects on underside of leaves and/or stems of plant; usually green or yellow in color; if aphid infestation is heavy it may cause leaves to yellow and/or distorted, necrotic spots on leaves and/or stunted shoots; aphids secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew which encourages the growth of sooty mold on the plants

Comments

Distinguishing features include the presence of cornicles (tubular structures) which project backwards from the body of the aphid; will generally not move very quickly when disturbed; willow-carrot aphid will also attack parnip, carrot and celery

Management

If aphid population is limited to just a few leaves or shoots then the infestation can be pruned out to provide control; check transplants for aphids before planting; use tolerant varieties if available; reflective mulches such as silver colored plastic can deter aphids from feeding on plants; sturdy plants can be sprayed with a strong jet of water to knock aphids from leaves; insecticides are generally only required to treat aphids if the infestation is very high - plants generally tolerate low and medium level infestation; insecticidal soaps or oils such as neem or canola oil are usually the best method of control; always check the labels of the products for specific usage guidelines prior to use

Armyworm Insect Pseudaletia unipuncta

Symptoms

Singular, or closely grouped circular to irregularly shaped holes in foliage; heavy feeding by young larvae leads to skeletonized leaves; shallow, dry wounds on fruit; egg clusters of 50-150 eggs may be present on the leaves; egg clusters are covered in a whitish scale which gives the cluster a cottony or fuzzy appearance; young larvae are pale green to yellow in color while older larvae are generally darker green with a dark and light line running along the side of their body and a pink or yellow underside

Comments

Insect can go through 3–5 generations a year

Management

Organic methods of controlling armyworms include biological control by natural enemies which parasitize the larvae and the application of Bacillus thuringiensis; there are chemicals available for commercial control but many that are available for the home garden do not provide adequate control of the larvae

Cutworms Insects Agrotis spp.
Peridroma saucia
Nephelodes minians
and others

Symptoms

Stems of young transplants or seedlings may be severed at soil line; if infection occurs later, irregular holes are eaten into the surface of fruits; larvae causing the damage are usually active at night and hide during the day in the soil at the base of the plants or in plant debris of toppled plant; larvae are 2.5–5.0 cm (1–2 in) in length; larvae may exhibit a variety of patterns and coloration but will usually curl up into a C-shape when disturbed

Comments

Cutworms have a wide host range and attack vegetables including asparagus, bean, cabbage and other crucifers, carrot, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato and tomato

Management

Remove all plant residue from soil after harvest or at least two weeks before planting, this is especially important if the previous crop was another host such as alfalfa, beans or a leguminous cover crop; plastic or foil collars fitted around plant stems to cover the bottom 3 inches above the soil line and extending a couple of inches into the soil can prevent larvae severing plants; hand-pick larvae after dark; spread diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants (this creates a sharp barrier that will cut the insects if they try and crawl over it); apply appropriate insecticides to infested areas of garden or field if not growing organically

Downy mildew Fungus Peronospora umbellifarum
Plasmopara nivea

Symptoms

Yellow spots on upper surface of leaves; white fluffy growth on underside of leaves; lesions become darker as the mature

Comments

Disease affects young, tender leaves; disease emergence and spread is favored by prolonged leaf wetness

Management

Plant pathogen-free seed; do not overcrowd plants; rotate crops with non-umbelliferous varieties

Powdery mildew Fungus Erisyphe heraclei

Symptoms

Powdery growth on leaves, petioles flowers stalks and bracts; leaves becoming chlorotic; severe infections can cause flowers to become distorted

Comments

Fungus can spread long distances in air; disease emergence is favored by high humidity and moderate temperatures; infection is most severe in shaded areas

Management

Plant tolerant varieties; avoid excess fertilization; protective fungicide applications provide adequate protection; sulfur application can be used in infection occurs early in season

Root knot nematode Nematode Meloidogyne spp.

Symptoms

Galls on roots which can be up to 3.3 cm (1 in) in diameter but are usually smaller; reduction in plant vigor; yellowing plants which wilt in hot weather

Comments

Galls can appear as quickly as a month prior to planting; nematodes prefer sandy soils and damage in areas of field or garden with this type of soil is most likely

Management

Plant resistant varieties if nematodes are known to be present in the soil ;check roots of plants mid-season or sooner if symptoms indicate nematodes; solarizing soil can reduce nematode populations in the soil and levels of inoculum of many other pathogens

Rust Fungi Puccinia spp.
Uromyces spp.
Nyssopsora spp.

Symptoms

Light green discolored lesions on leaves which become chlorotic; yellow-orange pustules on underside of leaves; stems bend and become swollen or distorted; plants may be stunted

Comments

Some species infect only parsley while others have alternative hosts which may provide a reservoir for the disease; disease emergence is favored by high humidity

Management

Plant in well-draining soils to reduce humidity around plants; apply appropriate systemic fungicide

References

Penn State Extension (2014). Anise. College of Agricultural Sciences. Available at: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/garde.... [Accessed 05 November 14]. Free to access

West Virginia University Extension Service (2014) Anise (Pimpinella anisum). Available at: http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/lawn_garden/he.... [Accessed 05 November 14]. Free to access