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Agastache foeniculum - (Pursh.)Kuntze.                
                 
Common Name Anise Hyssop, Blue giant hyssop
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
Synonyms A. anethiodorum. (Nutt.)Britt.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry thickets, fields and waste ground[43] on prairies and plains[235].
Range Western N. America - Ontario to Washington, south to Colorado.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Agastache foeniculum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : 7-10


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Agastache foeniculum Anise Hyssop, Blue giant hyssop


(c) ken Fern, Plants For A Future 2010
Agastache foeniculum Anise Hyssop, Blue giant hyssop
(c) ken Fern, Plants For A Future 2010
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Leaves and flowers - raw or cooked. They are used as a flavouring in raw or cooked dishes[108, 177, 257]. Excellent raw, they have a sweet aniseed flavour and are one of our favourite flavourings in salads[K]. They make a delicious addition to the salad bowl[183] and can also be used to flavour cooked foods, especially acid fruits[K].The only drawback to the leaves is that they tend to have a drying effect in the mouth and so cannot be eaten in quantity[K]. A pleasant tasting tea is made from the leaves[46, 61, 161, 183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cardiac;  Diaphoretic;  Pectoral;  Poultice.

The leaves are cardiac and diaphoretic[222, 238, 257]. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of colds, fevers, weak heart etc[222]. When left to go cold, the infusion is used to treat pains in the chest (such as when the lungs are sore from too much coughing)[207]. A poultice of leaves and stems can be used to treat burns[257].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a sunny position and a dry well-drained soil[187, 200]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]. The young growth in spring is very susceptible to slug damage[K]. The flowering plants are very attractive to bees and butterflies[K]. There is at least one named variety. 'Texas American' has an anise-pennyroyal fragrance and is used in a similar way to the species[183].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 13°c[133]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant out in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in spring. Fairly simple, if large divisions are used it is possible to plant them straight out into their permanent positions. Basal cuttings of young shoots in spring[111]. Harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm tall and pot them up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse. They should root within 3 weeks and can be planted out in the summer or following spring.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Pursh.)Kuntze.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
43200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[108]International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees.
The title says it all.
[111]Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials.
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
[133]Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[187]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2.
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[207]Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers.
A nice read, lots of information on plant uses.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[235]Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Matti Kaarlas Mon May 22 2006
Is the Agastache foeniculum safe to use if one is pregnant? Any studies on this subject?
Elizabeth H.
Liesl T Wed Nov 25 2009
Agastache foeniculum is a native to parts of northern Wisconsin. Consequently, it is probably hardy to at least Zone 4.
Elizabeth H.
Dave Walter Mon Dec 28 2009
I'm curious as to why you describe anise hyssop as: "This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]". Perhaps this is one of the "silly mistakes" you note for Ref 200: 1. This plant is fully hardy in my Zone 3 garden in Edmonton, Alberta. 2. It is considered a native species in Alberta and "The Flora of Alberta" (2nd Ed, EH Moss) has a map showing its distribution in Zone 1-2 as well. 3. The USDA Plants Database shows this species extending across Canada & into the Northwest Territories - most of this area gets well below -10. 4. The most authoritative text on herbs in Canada (Small, E. Culinary Herbs NRC-CNRC Press)also cites Huxley (1992), but also notes that A. foeniculum has survived temperatures below -25 C. Anise hyssop freely self-seeds and flowers the first year here, so it may be getting by as an annual in the more northern sites. At least two plants have survived in the same spots in my garden since 2006; however, so it is at least also capable of being a short-lived perennial here. Cold tolerance may also vary by variety, but I think you are giving anise hyssop short shrift on its cold tolerance.
Jonathan T.
Among other things, comments on the DG page show that Agastache foeniculum is much more cold hardy than suggested by this PFAF page. Included are comments from successful growers in USDA zone 4. Jul 7 2011 12:00AM
Dave's Garden page for Agastache foeniculum, anise hyssop
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