Herbs & Plants

Illicium floridanum

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Botanical Name : Illicium floridanum
Family: Schisandraceae
Genus: Illicium
Species: I. floridanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Austrobaileyales

Common Names: Aniseed Tree, Florida anisetree, Purple Anise, Star Anise, Florida anise, Stink-bush

Habitat : Illicium floridanum is native to South-eastern N. America – Florida to Louisiana. It grows in lowland wet areas, often in sandy soils along streams, swamps and at the head of bays, in light woodland and thickets.

Illicium floridanum is an upright, rounded, aromatic, evergreen shrub that grows to 6-10′ tall. Smooth, glossy, elliptic, dark olive-green leaves (to 6″ long) emit an anise-like aroma when crushed. Nodding, dark red flowers (to 2″ diameter), each with 20-30 strap-shaped petals, bloom in spring (April-May). Flower aroma is malodorous. Fruit is a star-shaped cluster of follicles. Purple anise is protected in Florida as a threatened species.


It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are a deep carmine red or maroon with narrow widely separated petals. The whole plant and especially the flowers have a fishy smell, hence the common names stink-bush, dead fish tree, or wet dog bush. The crushed foliage, however, has an aroma akin to lemon-lime or aniseed.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Pest tolerant, Massing, Screen, Specimen, Woodland garden. Prefers a light, moist well-drained loam and a sheltered position Prefers a humus-rich lime-free soil. A plant of woodland shade in its native habitat, in the less sunny British climate it succeeds in sun or semi-shade. This species is not very cold-hardy, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c, only succeeding outdoors in the mildest areas of Britain. A slow-growing tree, the whole plant is very aromatic. The bruised leaves have a strong scent of aniseed, whilst the flowers have a powerful spicy odour. Suckers can spring up at some distance from the parent plant. Special Features:Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant foliage, Wetlands plant, Suitable for cut flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – it does not require pre-treatment and can be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. 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. Suckers are sometimes produced at some distance from the parent plant. These suckers can be potted up in early spring, then grown on for a year before planting them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses: Not known.

Other Uses: Not known.

Known Hazards: Although no mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, at least one other member of the genus has a fruit that is poisonous in quantity.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.