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Species: Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Perennial herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean regions. In Italy it is widespread particularly along the coastal areas, from the plain to 1,000 meters.
Wild fennel (photo www.cosmos.ne.jp/~yanbaru)
Perennial herbaceous plant, sometimes biennial, rhizomatous, with erect, branched stems, up to 150 cm tall. The leaves are 3-4 pinnate, divided into almost capillary lacinias. The yellow flowers are gathered in large umbrellas. The fruit is a very aromatic achene.
It is sown in full soil, on fertile soil and free of water stagnation, using fresh seed. In pot it cannot be grown because it needs a lot of space. Adult plants can also be reproduced by division of tufts, in spring. There are particularly decorative and equally aromatic varieties.
Collection and conservation
Remove the leaves and use them fresh. Cut the umbrellas when the fruits are almost ripe and dry them in the shade. Then beat them gently to collect the ripe fruit.
Use in the kitchen and therapeutic properties
In the kitchen, the fruits (called seeds) combine with porchetta and all fatty meats.
The young shoots and fresh leaves are indicated for flavoring salads, fish dishes, sauces and aromatic vinegars. The wild fennel (harvested at the end of winter, using only the tender part and the filiform leaves) is used in Sicily for the preparation of pasta with sardines.
Therapeutic properties: purifying, tonic-aperitif, carminative, antispasmodic.