Agastache foeniculum (syn. Agastache anethiodora (Nutt.) Britton), commonly called anise hyssop, blue giant hyssop, Fragrant giant hyssop, or the lavender giant hyssop, is a species of perennial plant in the mint family, (Lamiaceae). This plant is native to much of north-central and northern North America. It is tolerant of deer and drought, and is visited by many pollinators.

Agastache foeniculum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Agastache
A. foeniculum
Binomial name
Agastache foeniculum

Description edit

This species grows from 2–4 feet (61–122 centimetres) tall and 1 ft (30 cm) wide, in a clump-like, upright shape, with flowers appearing in showy verticillasters, or false whorls, and occasionally branching at the apex.[2] The leaves have an oval, toothed shape with a white tint underneath. The plant blooms in June to September with bright lavender flowers that become more colorful near the tip.[3][4] One plant may produce upwards of 90,000 individual flowers.[5] The root system produces a taproot.[2]

Similar species edit

A. foeniculum can be confused with A. rugosa[6] and A. scrophulariifolia.[7] Anise hyssop is in the same family as hyssop (the mint family Lamiaceae), but they are not closely related. Hyssop (Hyssopus) is a genus of about 10–12 species of herbaceous or semi-woody plants native from the east Mediterranean to central Asia.[1]

Distribution and habitat edit

The plant is native to much of north-central and northern North America, notably the Great Plains and other prairies.[1][8]

Ecology edit

The species is tolerant of deer and drought, and attracts various potential pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies,[3] bumblebees, honey bees, carpenter bees, and night flying moths.[9] Honey bees make a light fragrant honey from the flower's nectar.[10]

A bumblebee feeding on the white flowers of an anise hyssop plant

Anise hyssop is considered one of the premier plants for feeding pollinators. The 1969 edition of the Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening claims that one acre planted in anise hyssop can support 100 honeybee hives, the flowers blooming for a very long season, often from June until frost and during the time it blooms, one can see bees on the flowers from the morning until dusk.[11] A horticultural writer has claimed that the many flowers of the plant provide forage for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.[12]

Uses edit

Anise hyssop was used medicinally by Native Americans for cough, fevers, wounds, and diarrhea.[citation needed] The soft, anise-scented leaves[4] are used as a seasoning, as a tea, in potpourri, and can be crumbled in salad.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Agastache foeniculum". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team.
  2. ^ a b Hilty, John (2020). "Anise hyssop". Illinois Wildflowers. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Agastache foeniculum". Missouri Botanical Gardens. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Agastache foeniculum (Anise hyssop)". Fine Gardening. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  5. ^ Pan, Ziliang. "Bee Visitation and Nectar Production of Anise Hyssop" (PDF). Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  6. ^ Roger Guillermo Fuentes-Granados. "Genetic Studies of Agastache." Iowa State University PhD dissertation. 1997. p. 14. doi:10.31274/rtd-180813-13259
  7. ^ Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas DeBaggio, The Encyclopedia of Herbs: A Comprehensive Reference to Herbs of Flavor and Fragrance. Timber Press, 2009. p. 127. ISBN 9781604691344
  8. ^ "Agastache foeniculum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  9. ^ Ayers, George (July 1994). "The Genus Agastache as Bee Forage: An Analysis of Reader Returns". American Bee Journal (134): 480–482.
  10. ^ "Herbs"; Smithsonian Handbook - Lesley Bremness
  11. ^ Rodale, J.I. (1969). The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. Emmaus Pennasylvania. pp. 522–523.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Kagan, Carol. "Anise Hyssop for the Perennial Garden". PennState Extension. Retrieved 13 August 2019.

External links edit