Anise Hyssop

Agastache foeniculum is commonly called anise hyssop, blue giant hyssop, fragrant giant hyssop, or the lavender giant hyssop. It is a species of perennial plant in the mint family. This plant is native to much of north-central and northern North America, notably the Great Plains and other prairies, and can be found in areas of Canada. It is tolerant of deer and drought, and also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies making it an attractive selection for gardeners. (information from Wikipedia)

Anise hyssop can have a scent of anise, mint or citrus. The leaves are used for herbal tea, flavouring and in medicines. The flower spikes make a pretty addition to salads. This hardy perennial prefers light shade and a slightly acid to neutral soil. Sow the seeds in spring and just cover them with soil. Germination takes 6 – 8 weeks and you can pot them when large enough. Use the flowers and leaves freshly picked, or dry them by hanging them upside down in small bunches away from direct sunlight. They will retain their colour and scent.

The flowers yield large quantities of nectar and attract beneficial insects. This was popular with bee keepers in North America to make aniseed flavoured honey. This was used by the Native Americans to sweeten tea. Infuse the dried leaves to make tea and to season lamb, chicken or salmon. Add the seeds to cakes and muffins. Use the flowers or fresh leaves in salads.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

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