Also known as hardy anise shrub, Ocala anise, swamp star-anise, and small anise tree this broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree is a member of the starvine family, Schisandraceae, consisting of 3 genera and 92 species. It is native to central Florida where it grows in moist soils of floodplains and woodlands, and near swamps and waterways. The plant grows 10-15′ tall by 6-10′ wide and tends to form colonies by suckering. The shiny elliptic leaves are yellow-green when young and olive green with maturity. Adult leaves are 2-4″ long and are fragrant when bruised. In late spring, inconspicuous yellow-green flowers appear in the leaf axils. They are cup-shaped, about 1/2″ across, and have 11-14 petals. The fruit that follows is composed of one-seeded follicles arranged in a star-shaped cluster less than an inch across. Yellow anise tree is a good choice for a hedge, screen, foundation planting, and border, as well as for woodland, shade, rain, and native plant gardens. Fruits, leaves, and seeds are poisonous. The genus name, Illicium, comes from the Latin word illicere, meaning to allure, referring to the appealing fragrance of many species. The specific epithet, parviflora, comes from the Latin words, parva, meaning small, and flos, meaning flower and refers to the size of the inconspicuous flowers.

Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree

Outstanding Feature: Foliage

Form: Mounding, round to pyramidal

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Inconspicuous yellow-green flowers in late spring

Size: 10-15′ H x 6-10′ W

Light: Partial to full shade; tolerates full sun if water requirements are met

Soil: Rich, consistently moist, well-drained; somewhat drought tolerant

Hardiness: Zones 6-9

Care: Can be pruned into hedge

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, layering, semi-ripe cuttings in summer

Outstanding Selections:

BananAppeal (dwarf, yellow leaves)

‘Florida Sunshine’ (chartreuse gold leaves, yellow flowers, red young stems)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen