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Florence Fennel—Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum (Mill.) Thell.1

James M. Stephens 2

Florence fennel is also known as finocchio, sweet fennel, sweet anise, and fetticus. It is grown successfully in many gardens and a few fields throughout Florida.

Figure 1. Florence fennel
Figure 1.  Florence fennel
Credit: James M. Stephens


The plant is an annual that is planted for the thickened bulb-like base of the leaf stems. These make a swollen, oval, 3 or 4 inch wide structure just above the ground. Some gardeners pull soil up around the developing bulbous base to blanch (whiten) it, but this practice is not necessary.

Use and Culture

Fennel has a very aromatic, distinctive anise-like flavor and odor. It is used as a boiled vegetable, and sometimes raw in salads or with other vegetables. Plants grow about 3 feet tall. The dense and thread-like foliage reminds one of dog fennel. Florence fennel appears somewhat similar to celery and it is often confused with dill. From seeding to harvest takes about 4 months. Cool weather is best for growth of fennel.


1. This document is HS595, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised September 2015. Reviewed October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at
2. James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.

Publication #HS595

Release Date:October 29, 2018

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Stephens, James M.


University of Florida

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