Illicium anisatum - L.
Common Name Star Anise, Chinese Anise,Japanese Anise
Family Illiciaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The essential oil obtained from this plant is poisonous[270]. The fruit is poisonous in quantity[19, 177].
Habitats Thickets and woods in foothills, S. and C. Japan[58].
Range E. Asia - S. China, Japan, Taiwan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Oval.

Illicium anisatum Star Anise, Chinese Anise,Japanese Anise
Illicium anisatum Star Anise, Chinese Anise,Japanese Anise
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Illicium anisatum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

I. religiosum. Sieb.&Zucc.

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The fruit is used as a flavouring[2, 132, 177] and is also chewed after meals in order to sweeten the breath[4]. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter[2]. Some caution is advised because it is said to be poisonous in quantity[19, 177].
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.

Antibacterial;  Carminative;  Diuretic;  Odontalgic;  Stimulant;  Stomachic.

Diuretic, odontalgic, stimulant[4, 61]. The fruit is carminative, stimulant and stomachic[21, 240]. It is used primarily to promote digestion and the appetite, and to relieve flatulence[21]. It also makes a good additive to other medicines to improve their taste[21]. The leaves and the seeds are antibacterial[240].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Pest tolerant, Massing, Screen, Woodland garden. Prefers a light, moist well-drained loam and a sheltered position[1, 11]. Prefers a humus-rich lime-free soil[182, 200]. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade[200]. A slow-growing plant[188]. This species is not very cold-hardy, it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c but normally requires the protection of a wall in most of Britain[184]. It succeeds outdoors in the mildest areas of the country[59]. Star anise is a very ornamental and aromatic plant that is much planted near Buddhist shrines and temples in Japan[184]. The plants have the scent of anise[219]. All parts of the plant are pleasingly aromatic. The leaves release a powerful aromatic odour when touched and the flowers have a spicy odour[245]. Plants seldom grow larger than about 2 metres in Britain, but are often 10 metres tall in their native habitat[58]. Special Features: Attracts birds, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed - it does not require pre-treatment and can be sown in early spring in a greenhouse[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold over the winter for the first year or two. Layering in early spring. Takes 18 months[78]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame[113]. Pot up the cuttings when they start to root and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting out after the last expected frosts.
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
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Illicium floridanumAniseed Tree, Florida anisetree, Purple Anise, Star Anise, Florida anise10
Illicium verumBa Jiao Hui Xian, Staranise tree33


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For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Tran Phuoc Duong   Thu Dec 1 2005
I could not get access to "Flora of N. America O (as listed in reference 270) Prof. Tran Phuoc Duong Can Tho University Viet Nam [email protected]
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Subject : Illicium anisatum  

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