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Herb of the Week for 24th Feb

The Fallacy about Fennel
By Lynn Kirkland


By Lynn Kirkland


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 dill seeds.
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 fish dishes.
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 instead.

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