Fennel


Fennel

Taxobox
name = Fennel



image_width = 300px
image_caption = Fennel in flower
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Apiales
familia = Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
genus = "Foeniculum"
species = "F. vulgare"
binomial = "Foeniculum vulgare"
binomial_authority = Mill.

Fennel ("Foeniculum vulgare") is a plant species in the genus "Foeniculum" (treated as the sole species in the genus by most botanists). It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves, grows wild in most parts of temperate Europe, but is generally considered indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, whence it spreads eastwards to India + Even in England in Bedfont Lakes Country Park and Thurrock . It has followed, especially where Romans have colonized, and may be found growing wild in many parts of the world upon dry soils near the sea-coast and upon river-banks. [ [http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fennel01.html botanical.com - A Modern Herbal | Fennel ] ] It is a member of the family Apiaceae. It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Fennel is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Mouse Moth and the Anise Swallowtail.

Etymology and history

The word "fennel" developed from the Middle English "fenel" or "fenyl", which came from the Old English "fenol" or "finol", which in turn came from the Latin "feniculum" or "foeniculum", the diminutive of "fenum" or "faenum", meaning "hay". The Latin word for the plant was "ferula", which is now used as the genus name of a related plant. As Old English "finule" it is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon "Nine Herbs Charm", recorded in the 10th century.

In Ancient Greek, fennel was called "marathon" (μάραθον), and is attested in Linear B tablets as "ma-ra-tu-wo". John Chadwick notes that this word is the origin of the place name Marathon (meaning "place of fennel"), site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC; however, Chadwick wryly notes that he has "not seen any fennel growing there now". [John Chadwick, "The Mycenaean World" (Cambridge: University Press, 1976), p. 120] In Greek mythology, Prometheus used the stalk of a fennel plant to steal fire from the gods. Also, it was from the giant fennel, "Ferula communis", that the Bacchanalian wands of the god Dionysus and his followers were said to have come. [ Liddell and Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", s.v.]

Appearance

Fennel is a perennial herb, meaning that it grows year-round. It is erect, glaucous green, and grows to heights of up to 2.5 m, with hollow stems. The leaves grow up to 40 cm long; they are finely dissected, with the ultimate segments filiform, about 0.5 mm wide. Its leaves are similar to those of dill, but thinner. The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels 5–15 cm wide, each umbel section having 20–50 tiny yellow flowers on short pedicels. The fruit is a dry seed from 4–10 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved.Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). "Flora of Britain and Northern Europe". ISBN 0-340-40170-2]

Cultivation and uses

nutritionalvalue
name=Fennel, bulb, raw
kJ=130
protein=1.24 g
fat=0.20 g
carbs=7.29 g
fiber=3.1 g
sugars=
glucose=
fructose=
iron_mg=0.73
opt1n=Manganese 0.191 mg
opt1v=
calcium_mg=49
magnesium_mg=17
phosphorus_mg=50
potassium_mg=414
zinc_mg=0.20
vitC_mg=12
pantothenic_mg=0.232
vitB6_mg=0.047
folate_ug=27
thiamin_mg=0.01
riboflavin_mg=0.032
niacin_mg=0.64
right=1
source_usda=1

Fennel is widely cultivated, both in its native range and elsewhere, for its edible, strongly-flavoured leaves and seeds. The flavour is similar to that of anise and star anise, though usually not as strong. Katzer's Spice Pages: [http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Foen_vul.html?noframes Fennel ("Foeniculum vulgare" Mill.)] ]

The Florence fennel ("Foeniculum vulgare" Azoricum Group; syn. "F. vulgare" var. "azoricum") is a Cultivar Group with inflated leaf bases which form a bulb-like structure. It is of cultivated origin,Germplasm Resources Information Network: [http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?300219 "Foeniculum vulgare"] ] and has a mild anise-like flavour, but is more aromatic and sweeter. Its flavour comes from anethole, an aromatic compound also found in anise and star anise. Florence fennel plants are smaller than the wild type and have inflated leaf bases which are eaten as a vegetable, both raw and cooked. There are several cultivars of Florence fennel, which is also known by several other names, notably the Italian name "finocchio". In North American supermarkets, it is often mislabelled as "anise".

Fennel has become naturalised along roadsides, in pastures, and in other open sites in many regions, including northern Europe, the United States, southern Canada and in much of Asia and Australia. It propagates well by seed, and is considered an invasive species and a weed in Australia and the United States [ [http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/tcweeds/weeds/fennel.htm Common Fennel ] ] (see Santa Cruz Island).

Florence fennel was one of the three main herbs used in the preparation of absinthe, an alcoholic mixture which originated as a medicinal elixir in Switzerland and became, by the late 19th century, a popular alcoholic drink in France and other countries. Fennel itself is known to be a stimulant, [ [http://www.rain-tree.com/fennel.htm Database Entry: Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare, Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare, Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare ] ] although many modern preparations marketed under the name "absinthe" do not make use of it.

Culinary uses

The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the culinary traditions of the world. Fennel pollen is the most potent form of fennel, but also the most expensive. Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, anise-flavoured spice, brown or green in colour when fresh, slowly turning a dull grey as the seed ages. For cooking, green seeds are optimal. The leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp, hardy root vegetable and may be sauteed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw.

Fennel seeds are sometimes confused with those of anise, which are very similar in taste and appearance, though smaller. In India, it is common to chew fennel seed (or "saunf") as a mouth-freshener. Fennel is also used as a flavouring in some natural toothpaste. Some people employ it as a diuretic. Others use it to improve the milk supply of breastfeeding mothers, but it has shown neurotoxicity in certain cases where the mother ingested it as an herbal tea to enhance her breast milk. [Rosti, L. A. Nardini, M. Bettinelli, and D. Rosti. Toxic effects of a herbal tea mixture in two newborns. "Acta Paediatrica". Vol. 83, 1994:683]

Fennel is most prominently featured in Italian cuisine, where bulbs and fronds appears both raw and cooked in side dishes, salads, pastas, and risottos. Fennel seed is a common ingredient in Italian sausages and meatballs and northern European rye breads.

Many cultures in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East incorporate fennel seed into their culinary traditions. It is an essential ingredient in the Bengali/Oriya spice mixture panch phoron and in Chinese five-spice powders. It is known as "saunf" or "mauti saunf" in Hindi and Urdu, "mouri" in Bengali, "shombu" or "peruncheeragam" in Tamil language and Malayalam language, "variyali" in Gujarati, "badeeshop" or "badeeshep" in Marathi and "barishap" in the Malay language. In many parts of India roasted fennel seeds are consumed as an after-meal digestive and as a breath freshner.

Many egg, fish, and other dishes employ fresh or dried fennel leaves. Florence fennel is a key ingredient in some Italian and German salads, often tossed with chicory and avocado, or it can be braised and served as a warm side dish. It may be blanched or marinated, or cooked in risotto. In all cases, the leaves lend their characteristically mild, anise-like flavour.

Medicinal uses

Fennel contains anethole, which can explain some of its effects: it, or its polymers, act as phytoestrogens. [Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents, J. Ethnopharmacology PMID 6999244] On account of its aromatic and carminative properties, Fennel is chiefly used medicinally with purgatives to allay their side effects and for this purpose forms one of the ingredients of the well-known compound Liquorice Powder. Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic 'Gripe Water,' used to correct the flatulence of infants; it also can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething. Essential oil of Fennel has these properties in concentration. Fennel tea, formerly also employed as a carminative, is made by pouring boiling water on a teaspoonful of bruised Fennel seeds. Syrup prepared from Fennel juice was formerly given for chronic coughs. Fennel is also largely used for cattle condiments. It is one of the plants which is said to be disliked by fleas, and powdered Fennel has the effect of driving away fleas from kennels and stables. [ [http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fennel01.html botanical.com - A Modern Herbal | Fennel ] ] In the Indian subcontinent, Fennel seeds are also eaten raw, sometimes with some sweetener, to improve eyesight.

imilar species

Hemlock's distinguishing characteristics are that it requires a more consistent supply of water than "Lomatium" or Osha, and "Lomatium" species tend to prefer dry rocky soils devoid of organic material. "Lomatium" roots have a delicate rice-like odor, unlike the musty odor of Hemlock, with finely divided, hairlike leaves in most "Lomatium" species. "Lomatium" species tend to produce yellow flowers, but some species are white flowered and closely resemble Poison Hemlock. If the plant is growing on a hillside in dry, mineral soil far away from a source of water and has umbells of yellow flowers, its likely a "Lomatium". It the plant is growing in an area near water in consistently moist soil, is tall (0.75-2m), has purple splotches on the main stem, and is heavily branched with small umbels of white flowers, it is probably Hemlock and should be avoided.

Osha does not do well in overly moist soils since it is a species dependent on mycorrhizal fungi to survive, but there are areas where Osha and Poison Hemlock can be found only a few feet from each other. Poison Hemlock lacks the "spicy celery" odor of Osha, and is easily distinguished from it due to the absence of hairlike dead leaf material present on the root crown of Osha roots. Poison Hemlock roots in many cases have no discernible odor, and are typically heavily branched rather than carrot-like, but this is not always the case. The plants themselves smell musty or "mousy", and in most instances will have purple blotches or shading on the lower stem of the plant if the plant is fairly mature, but again, this is not always the case.

In the Mountain West of North America, poison hemlock has become well established and invasive, and can be found in remote mountain areas anywhere water is present or soils are persistently moist. It is often found growing in the same habitat and side by side with Osha and "Lomatium" species, useful medicinal relatives in the Parsley family which Hemlock closely resembles, and can be very difficult to distinguish from "Lomatium" (an important historical food plant of Native Americans known as "Biscuit Root").

A useful trick to determine whether a plant is poison hemlock rather than fennel, which it resembles, is to crush some leaves and smell the result. Fennel smells like anise or liquorice, whereas the smell of poison hemlock is often described as mouse-like or musty. Considering the high toxicity of poison hemlock, if the plant cannot be identified it must be discarded. Coniine can be absorbed through the skin, and it is well advised to wash your hands immediately after handling this plant and avoid touching your eyes or mouth if you have recently handled or come into contact with Poison Hemlock, or if you have crushed the leaves of this plant in your hand to perform a "smell test".

Poison hemlock is sometimes confused with water hemlocks in the related genus "Cicuta".cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Water hemlock (Cicuta spp.)
work = Natural Standard, The Authority on Integrative Medicine
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.naturalstandard.com/index-abstract.asp?create-abstract=/monographs/herbssupplements/patient-waterhemlock.asp
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-08-03
] , but are readily distinguished by the less finely divided leaves of the latter; the leaf veins of poison hemlock also run through the tips of the teeth, but those of the water hemlock run through the notches in between the teeth. The poison hemlock's root is long, white, and fleshy and is usually stringy and heavily branched, but can be carrot-like and unbranched in younger specimens of "Conium". Water hemlock's roots are made up of several tubers, and are typically chambered, and excude a yellow, rank, highly toxic sap that contains cicutoxin [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii)
work = Field Guide to Noxious and Other Selected Weeds of British Columbia
publisher = Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Government of British Columbia
date =
url = http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/weedguid/waterhmlk.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
]

These plants all have white flowers in large compound umbels. Therefore, these plants are confused with each other; the water parsnip, (swamp parsnip, sium suave) and the western water hemlock, (Cicuta douglasii, poison hemlock) or the spotted water hemlock (cicuta maculata, spotted water hemlock, spotted parsley, spotted cowbane). Water parsnip and water hemlock both have cluster of small white flowers shaped like umbrellas, and both have the same habitat near the shore line of lakes, and rivers. Water parsnip has leaves only once compound, and water hemlock has leaves which are three times compound. Water hemlock has a large swelling at the stem base. All water hemlock is highly poisonous.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Cicuta maculata.
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.em.ca/garden/native/nat_cicuta_maculata.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
] Water parsnip is not poisonous.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples By Harriet V Kuhnlein, Nancy J.
work = Google books
publisher =
date =
url = http://books.google.ca/books?id=fPDErXqH8YYC&pg=PA124&lpg=PA124&dq=hemlock++saskatchewan&source=web&ots=wEZs3Qy1Nb&sig=4XiR4NlX_41oreXB54L841HnbIs&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA124,M1
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
] The water hemlock has bracts at the base of each small flower cluster, not at the base of the main flower head.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Western Water Hemlock - Agriculture - Government of Saskatchewan
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=6896bcb3-d202-43e0-ace9-c4ec72d8835d
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
] The Water parsnip has small bracts at the base of flowers and main flower head as well.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Water Parsnip - Agriculture - Government of Saskatchewan
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=e2b0945b-6609-4790-ae82-8fdd9135af26
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
] The Yarrow, (Common Yarrow, Gordaldo, Nosebleed plant, Old Man's Pepper, Sanguinary, Milfoil, Soldier's Woundwort, Thousand-leaf (as its binomial name affirms), Thousand-seal or Achillea millefolium) also has many small white flowers in a cluster. However, the yarrow has feathery looking leaves which are pinnately separated into small narrow segments.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Yarrow Achillea millefolium
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.em.ca/garden/native/nat_Achillea%20millefolium.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
] The cow parsnip (heracleum lanatum, Heracleum maxinium Indian Celery or Pushki, and Heracleum sphondylium, hogweed) is also confused in this group with similar flower groupings. However, the cow parsnip has large, broad leaves, and an unpleasant odour.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Heracleum lanatum
work = University of Saskatchewan
publisher =
date =
url =http://www.usask.ca/agriculture/plantsci/classes/range/heracleum.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-08-03
]

References

External links

* [http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23 Fennel in nutrition, health, cooking]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fennel — Fen nel (f[e^]n n[e^]l), n. [AS. fenol, finol, from L. feniculum, faeniculum, dim. of fenum, faenum, hay: cf. F. fenouil. Cf. {Fenugreek}. {Finochio}.] (Bot.) A perennial plant of the genus {F[ae]niculum} ({F[ae]niculum vulgare}), having very… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • FENNEL — (Heb. קֶצַח, keẓaḥ), an herb, the sowing and threshing of which are described by Isaiah (28:25, 27). Fennel is the plant Nigella sativa, whose black seeds are used as a condiment. It was used as a condiment in talmudic times, being sprinkled on… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • fennel — (n.) O.E. fenol, finul, perhaps via (or influenced by) O.Fr. fenoil or directly from V.L. fenuculum, from L. feniculum, dim. of fenum, faenum hay, probably lit. produce (see FECUND (Cf. fecund)). Apparently so called from its hay like appearance… …   Etymology dictionary

  • fennel — ► NOUN ▪ an aromatic yellow flowered plant, with feathery leaves used as herbs or eaten as a vegetable. ORIGIN Latin faeniculum, from faenum hay …   English terms dictionary

  • fennel — [fen′əl] n. [ME fenel < OE finul < L faeniculum, dim. of faenum, earlier fenum, hay] a tall herb (Foeniculum vulgare) of the umbel family, with feathery leaves and yellow flowers: its foliage and aromatic seeds are used to flavor foods and… …   English World dictionary

  • fennel — /fen l/, n. 1. a plant, Foeniculum vulgare, of the parsley family, having feathery leaves and umbels of small, yellow flowers. 2. Also, fennel seed. the aromatic fruits of this plant, used in cookery and medicine. 3. any of various more or less… …   Universalium

  • fennel — noun a) A plant, Foeniculum vulgare, of the parsley family. b) The bulb, leaves, or stalks of the plant, eaten as a vegetable. See Also: dog fennel, hog’s fennel, sweet fennel, water fennel …   Wiktionary

  • fennel — /ˈfɛnəl / (say fenuhl) noun 1. an umbelliferous plant, Foeniculum vulgare, having yellow flowers, and bearing aromatic fruits, which, as well as the leaves and stem, are used in cookery and medicine. 2. the fruits (fennel seed) of this plant. 3.… …   Australian English dictionary

  • fennel — paprastasis pankolis statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Salierinių šeimos vaistinis augalas (Foeniculum vulgare), paplitęs šiaurės Afrikoje, pietvakarių Azijoje ir pietų Europoje. Iš jo gaunamas eterinis aliejus. atitikmenys: lot. Anethum… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • fennel — noun Etymology: Middle English fenel, from Old English finugl, from Vulgar Latin *fenuculum, from Latin feniculum fennel, irregular diminutive of fenum hay Date: before 12th century a perennial European herb (Foeniculum vulgare) of the carrot… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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