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Illicium parviflorum Anise, Yellow Anisetree, Star Anise

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


This rapidly growing, large, evergreen, Florida native shrub has medium to coarsetextured, olive green, leathery leaves and small, greenish-yellow flowers. The many, slender, drooping branches of anise give a rounded, open canopy in the shade that is ideal for natural settings, or it can be pruned into dense hedges, screens, or windbreaks in sunny locations. Branches often root when they touch the ground and root sprouts appear several years after planting. This adds to the density of the shrub. The slightly fragrant spring flowers are followed by brown, star-shaped, many-seeded pods that cling to the stems. The leaves of anise give off a distinctive fragrance of licorice when bruised or crushed.

Full Form - Illicium parviflorum: Anise, Yellow Anisetree, Star Anise
Figure 1. Full Form - Illicium parviflorum: Anise, Yellow Anisetree, Star Anise
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Leaf - Illicium parviflorum: Anise, Yellow Anisetree, Star Anise
Figure 2. Leaf - Illicium parviflorum: Anise, Yellow Anisetree, Star Anise
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Illicium parviflorum

Pronunciation: ill-LISS-see-um par-vif-FLOR-um

Common name(s): anise, yellow anisetree, star anise

Family: Illiciaceae

Plant type: tree

USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 10A (Figure 3)

Planting month for zone 7: year round

Planting month for zone 8: year round

Planting month for zone 9: year round

Planting month for zone 10: year round

Origin: native to Florida

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: hedge; espalier; screen; foundation; border

Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Shaded area represents potential planting range
Figure 3. Shaded area represents potential planting range


Height: 15 to 20 feet

Spread: 10 to 15 feet

Plant habit: oval

Plant density: dense

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: undulate

Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)

Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see

Leaf type and persistence: fragrant

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: yellow

Flower characteristic: pleasant fragrance; summer flowering


Fruit shape: irregular

Fruit length: 0.5 to 1 inch

Fruit cover: dry or hard

Fruit color: green

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically, multi-trunked or clumping stems; can be trained to grow with a short, single trunk; not particularly showy

Current year stem/twig color: green

Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay

Drought tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerances: poor

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Anise grows well in sun or shade but thins out in the shade. Anise appreciates rich soil and ample moisture but will easily survive harsher conditions. Anise is an easy-to-grow, pest-free shrub. Once established it will need watering only during long periods of drought and pruning once a year to maintain its shrub form. Plant on 5-to-7-foot centers to establish an unpruned screen, closer for a tall clipped hedge. Allow plenty of room for this shrub. It grows too large for a residential foundation planting but can be pruned into a small, multi-stemmed tree.

Propagation is by cuttings or layering.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.

Publication #FPS-278

Release Date:November 6, 2023

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS-278, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman