This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
This is the fruit of Illicium anisatum, an evergreen tree, growing in China, Japan, and Tartary. It consists of from five to ten brownish ligneous capsules, four or five lines long, each containing a brown Shining seed, and connected together at one end, in a star-like form. It has almost precisely the odour of anise, and yields by distillation a volatile oil, which closely resembles the oil of anise, and is often substituted for it without inconvenience. This is the more singular, as there is no botanical affinity between the two plants. Either the star aniseed, or its oil may be used for the same purposes as fennel-seed.