Star anise, Anise toil, Illicium verum: planting, cultivating, multiplying

Chinese real, star anise is the shrub that gives star anise. Star anise is a beautiful shrub to grow in coastal regions with mild winters or in pots.

Badianier de chine, Anis toil, Chinese real


N. scientific Chinese real

Family Schisandraces

Origin Southwest China, Vietnam

Bloom may June

Flowers jaune

Typeshrub plant


Foliage persistent

Height4 6m, up to 15 in his home country

Plant and cultivate

hardiness not very hardy, down to -8C

Exposition my-ombre ombre claire

Solquite light

Acidity neutral acid

Humidity costs

Utilisationexotic looking spice, medicinal, ornamental plant


Multiplicationsowing, cutting, layer

Star anise, Anise

Chinese realChinese star anise or Chinese star anise is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Schisandraceae. The Schisandraceae are somewhat primitive plants, of great beauty, close to the Magnolias.

Chinese real is native to southwestern Asia, where it grows in tropical to subtropical forest up to an altitude of 1600 m. This species is very widely cultivated for its spice in regions of the world where the climate suits it.

Chinese star anise is moderately hardyand moreover quite difficult to obtain in France; IIlicium floridanum with red flowers is more often cultivated. However, it can be obtained from specialized nurseries.

Without hoping to obtain large fruit harvests from it, the star anise is a charming little tree.

Description of Chinese star anise

Chinese real forms a small, tall tree usually in the ground from 4 to 6m et 3 m wideknowing that subjects aged 100 years and over in Asia reach 15 m in height.

Its branches carry large and beautiful elliptical leaves, persistent, smooth and leathery, 5 to 15 cm long and 5 cm wide. These leaves are alternate or rather almost whorled (grouped at the same node). They give off a pleasant licorice scent when they are crumpled.

The flowers which appear more towards the end of summer in Europe, but which are capable of producing 3 times a year in a climate tropical, are a little strange; they are of radial symmetry, presenting about ten long tepals fused into a disc, pale pink to creamy yellow, and about fifteen stamens.

Those are autogamous flowersand when fertilized produce a star fruit, a polyfollicle ligneous with eight carpels, each containing a large shiny seed when ripe.

Leaves and fruits are aromatic.

How to grow star anise?

Chinese real is rustic easily just at -5°C, sometimes even down to -10°C (depending on the individual and their origin perhaps). Cultivating it in France in the open ground is possible by coastal regions with mild winters, with regular precipitation (oceanic climate). Elsewhere, it is kept in a container to be protected under shelter and frost-free in winter. Star anise also has its place in greenhouses or verandas.

The star anise thrives in a earth from neutral to acid, fresh and drainingor a potting soil horticultural, or a soil humus acidic.

It does not tolerate drought and will therefore be watered regularly ; in fact, his substrate should always remain slightly moist. It appreciates a sunny position in partial shade in rainy areas, or shaded but clear, in warmer climates.

We will preferably find him a warm and sheltered from the windin front of a facade, in a courtyard or in the middle of a plant basin.

For acclimatization in the ground, it will be preferable to install it in the spring ; to offer it a mulch that retains moisture in the ground in summer, and to put a veil ofwintering for its first winter.

By way offertilizera part of compost or well-rotted manure once a year on the surface is enough.

Chinese real is of slow growing. This small tree generally only begins to produce flowers and fruits after an average of 6 years.

Use of Chinese star anise

Although the leaves are also aromatic, it is mainly the fruit that is used.

The fresh, still green fruit is chewed fresh in small quantities to cleanse the mouth or aid digestion at the end of the meal. Its taste is pleasant. It can also be added to herbal tea or flavored green tea.

The dry fruit makes it possible to harvest star anise essential oil, strong and slightly irritating, used in herbal medicine for its stimulating, disinfectant, antibacterial and antiviral, digestive and expectorant action. It is one of the ingredients of Tamiflu, which is an antiviral drug.

The Chinese star anise or star anise spice is the fruit of the Chinese star anise. Chinese star anise is stronger and more peppery than green anise, an umbellifer called Pimpinella anisum. It is the dried fruit, harvested green, immature, but dried in the sun, which is reduced to powder for spices or use in herbal teas.

Star anise is used to flavor drinks such as pastis and anisettes.

It can be used to flavor pastries but it is mainly used in oriental cuisine, readily available in 5 spice blends (with cloves, fennel, ginger and cinnamon), at the height of its powerful flavor in place of biryani or of fried riceor in phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup.

As an oriental spice, it is also sometimes used in gram massa blend of roasted spices.

The 8-pointed star-shaped dried fruits are decorative.

How to propagate the star anise of China?

Semi-ripe summer twigs can be smothered, removing all but 1 or 2 leaves.

Sow star anise

The star anise germinates much more easily from ripe, but fresh seeds: young, and not yet dried out. Its germination capacity decreases very strongly if the seeds are stored dry. On the other hand, they can be kept for several months, stored at 30% humidity, or kept in moistened sachets.

They are then soaked in water for 48 hours, then sown at 20° C. the star anise requires 6 to 15 years before producing its first flowers.

Species and varieties of Chinese

42 species in this genus

  • Chinese flowerstar anise with red flowers
  • Chinese anisatumJapanese star anise or Japanese star anise
  • Chinese mexicanwith pink flowers
Sheets of plants of the same genus

Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by

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