Herb of the Week for 24th Feb
By Lynn Kirkland
The Fallacy about Fennel
Driving between Ashhurst and Palmerston
North drivers may wonder what the yellow
flowering plant is growing beautifully
along the roadside. It is over a metre
tall and very prolific.
This is actually wild fennel and somehow
people think it is a poisonous plant.
This fallacy may have come about because
people have been warned off picking it
as it will have absorbed the fumes from
exhausts or it could have been sprayed
when the road edges get spayed to allow
good visibility for drivers.
While it is certainly true that one must
never pick plants found growing along
busy roadsides, it does not mean that
the plant fennel is poisonous.
Fennel comes in different forms. We have
the lovely perennial bronze fennel which
has almost black soft feathery leaves.
When in flower it has exactly the same
flowers as the wild fennel.
Dill is the dainty one of the family and
is an annual which only grows to 30cms
and has a more delicate aniseed flavour.
Florence fennel is the herb which puts
its efforts into growing a delicious bulbous
swelling just above ground and is eaten
as a vegetable.
We use fennel and dill seeds in our Mothers
Magic Tea for breastfeeding mothers.
It helps promote milk and it eases colic.
Some will remember gripe water for windy
and colicky babies, which was based on
We know that any part of fennel helps
with digestion and if you are a fan of
aniseed you will enjoy the taste of the
feathery leaves in your salads.
Dill or fennel are often teamed up with
There must be something attractive to
possums about aniseed fragrance as an
apple laced with a few drops of either
aniseed or fennel oil will lure those
pests into a trap.
So now you know what the abundant yellow
flowering wild herb is along the roadsides.
Do remember though that this is not for
picking and head to your garden centre