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Ferula communis - L.
Common Name Giant Fennel
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry hills, walls, waste ground and limestone[89], often in soils that are damp in the spring[187].
Range Europe - Mediterranean.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Ferula communis Giant Fennel

Ferula communis Giant Fennel
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Ferula communis is a PERENNIAL growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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 and can tolerate drought.

F. brevifolia. F. linkii.

 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Gum.

Leaves[183]. No further details are given.
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.


One report says that the root yields a gum with medicinal properties but no details are given[1].
Other Uses
Furniture;  Gum;  Miscellany;  Tinder.

A gum 'Gum Ammoniac' is obtained by notching the root[46, 61, 64, 100]. It is used as an incense[4], it also has medicinal value[1]. The stems are used in furniture making[89]. The dried pith is used as a tinder, it burns very slowly inside the stem and can thus be carried from one place to another[89, 100, 148].
Cultivation details
Succeeds in most soils[1] including dry ones according to one report[190] whilst others say that it requires a deep moist fertile soil in a sunny position[111, 200]. Established plants are drought resistant[190]. This species is hardy to about -10°c, possibly lower if the rootstock is mulched in the winter[187]. A very ornamental plant[1], though the flowers have a most unpleasant rancid smell[245]. Plants are often monoecious[187]. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance due to their long taproot[200]. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible. The sub-species brevifolia is the form used for its gum[1, 46, 61, 100].
Seed - best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn[1]. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance[1]. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Pino   Mon Jun 19 2006
The ferula comunis contains umbeliferone (7-hidroxicumarina), an alkaloid that inhibites the production of protrombine. Many cattle die in Spain of comsumption of this plant. I won´t recommend to eat any part of the giant fennel.
teresanicholls   Tue Jan 8 2008
I would like to purshase this plant how much and where from
luis ramos   Sun Apr 19 2009
How can those plants be destroyed? There have been several horse deaths eventually resulting from the ingestion of this plant. Would it be through a mechanical or a chemical process? in the case of chemical, what would you advise? I thank you for any help.
very interesting story about ferula   Apr 23 2011 12:00AM
see added link
Flora of Israel Online
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Subject : Ferula communis  

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