Fennel (faeniculum, Koel.), a genus of umbelliferous plants, to which the British species (F. vulgare, Willd.), found on chalky cliffs in the southern parts of England, belongs. It is cultivated for the sake of the pleasant aromatic qualities of its leaves. It is frequently met with both wild and in gardens in the United States. Its leaves are singularly spread out I into finely cut and almost hair-like teguments; its flowers are yellow, and the stalks of the plant are glaucous. Once introduced into the garden, it propagates itself for years. A more attractive kind is the Finochio or Azorean fennel (F. dulce), an annual cultivated in Italy as celery is with us. Several other species of fennel are known, some of which are admired for their pungency. Two kinds of fennel seed are found in the shops, one being sweeter than the other. It contains a volatile oil of agreeable odor, and is used in medicine as an aromatic. It yields its virtue to hot water and alcohol. The seeds of the shops are obtained partly from this country, but mostly from Germany. The odor of the seed and of the plant is fragrant, and its taste agreeable to most people. The infusion, prepared by adding two or three drams of the seeds to boiling water, is the best form for administering it.
It lessens the disagreeable taste of senna and rhubarb, and acts generally as a carminative.
Fennel (Faeniculum vulgare).