10 Plants That Smell Like Licorice

Hardy Mum

These are various plants and herbs known for their distinct anise or licorice-like flavors and aromas. These plants and herbs offer a range of flavors and can be used in various culinary and medicinal applications, depending on their unique profiles.

Also, read the article 10 plants that look like hair

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice is a perennial herb known for its sweet and earthy flavor. Its roots are commonly used to flavor candies, teas, and herbal remedies. Licorice is a small shrub with pretty, mauve, pea-shaped flowers and bright green divided leaves. It’s native to the warm Mediterranean and parts of South-Western Asia and has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. 

Licorice plants produce pretty purple to pale whitish blue flowers. The plant is a woody tropical perennial that is winter hardy in Zones 9–112. The plant’s leaves may occasionally exude the smell of licorice, hence its common name.


Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Anise is an annual plant with aromatic seeds that have a sweet and licorice-like flavor. It is often used in cooking, baking, and as a flavoring in liqueurs. Anise, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. 

The flavor and aroma of its seeds have similarities with some other spices and herbs, such as star anise, fennel, licorice, and tarragon. Anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well-drained soil.


Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Anise hyssop is an herb with leaves and flowers that offer both anise and mint-like flavors. It is used in teas, culinary dishes, and as a garnish. Contrary to its common name, Anise Hyssop is not anise or hyssop, though it is also a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). 

Its leaves give off a subtle scent similar to anise, though some compare the scent more to basil or French tarragon. This clump-forming perennial is native to parts of the Midwest and the Great Plains5. It blooms abundantly from mid to late summer through early fall, attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Anise Hyssop

Hardy Anise or Ocala Anise

This refers to various plants with anise-like flavors that can thrive in different climates, including Agastache foeniculum and Tagetes erecta. The Hardy Anise shrub is a large, upright, dense, evergreen shrub or small tree in the Schisandraceae (starvine) family. 

The common name refers to the licorice scent of its leaves when brushed or crushed. It is native to the lower southeastern United States and is the most cold hardy of the Illicium species. The plant should be grown in partial to full shade. It is moderately drought tolerant and can tolerate a range of soil types but prefers moist but well-drained soil.

Ocala Anise

Licorice Goldenrod (Solidago Odora)

Licorice goldenrod is a plant with leaves that emit a licorice scent. It’s used in herbal teas and for medicinal purposes. Licorice Goldenrod is native to open woodlands of the East and Southeast U.S. It is named for the licorice fragrance given off by the leaves when crushed. 

The dense spires of golden-yellow flowers provide a burst of late-season color in light shade. All Goldenrods support a host of pollinator and insect activity, and this goldenrod is no exception.

Licorice Goldenrod

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

Tarragon is an herb with a bittersweet anise-like flavor. It’s popular in French cuisine, especially in sauces like Béarnaise. Tarragon is a perennial herb, 60 to 80cm high, rarely found wild in nature. Tarragon is formed by short rhizomes, forming dense mats and numerous herbaceous stems. 

It can form colonies of up to 2 meters wide. The plant has long, light green leaves and can grow to be a few feet high. Tarragon is native to mild European regions. It’s hardy and easy to grow in a sunny or partially shaded spot in well-drained soil.


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a plant with a bulbous base and feathery leaves, both of which have a mild licorice flavor. It’s used in cooking, salads, and as a digestive aid. Fennel is a flavorful culinary herb and medicinal plant. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. 

It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea coast and on riverbanks. Fennel is grown both for culinary purposes and for its ornamental value. Its feathery, branching, aromatic, yellow-green foliage and tall stature can be attractive as border plantings, in cottage gardens, and more.


Star Anise (Illicium verum)

Star anise is a spice known for its strong licorice flavor. It’s commonly used in Asian cuisine and is a key ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder. Star anise is a spice made from the fruit of the Chinese evergreen tree Illicium verum. It’s aptly named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice seeds are harvested and has a flavor that is reminiscent of licorice. 

Star anise is a medium-sized evergreen tree native to northeast Vietnam and southwest China. A spice commonly called star anise, star anise, star anise seed, star aniseed, star of anise, Chinese star anise, or badian that closely resembles anise in flavor is obtained from the star-shaped pericarps of the fruit of I. verum which are harvested just before ripening.

Star Anise

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Sweet cicely is an herb with sweet, anise-like leaves and seeds. It’s used to flavor desserts and soups, and as a natural sweetener. Sweet Cicely is an attractive, early-blooming perennial herb with delicate, fern-like foliage, clusters of tiny white flowers, and a pleasant, anise-like aroma. It is currently flowering along hedgerows, byways, field margins, and on river banks in the Northern British Isles. 

A word of caution if foraging for this plant, as it is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae); a family including some of our tastiest spices, coriander and caraway, and also poisonous plants like hemlock and giant hogweed. The flavor of sweet cicely lends itself to making aperitifs and digestifs using the leaves or seeds for promoting appetite and supporting the whole digestion.

 It has also been used to help relieve coughs. The soft textured raw leaves avail themselves to use in vegetable and fruit salads or dips. They can also be cooked into soups, stews, and omelets.

Sweet Cicely

Basil ‘Anise’ (Ocimum basilicum ‘Anise’)

This basil variety has a sweet anise aroma and flavor. It’s used in cooking and pairs well with tomatoes, pasta, and salads. Anise Basil is a unique herb that is known for its distinctive licorice-like flavor and aroma. It is also known as Thai basil or licorice basil, due to its sweet and slightly spicy flavor profile that is similar to anise or licorice. 

The herb is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian dishes, and is a staple ingredient in many curries, stir-fries, and soups. This herb has a distinctive appearance, with dark green leaves and purple stems that add a pop of color to any dish. The herb is easy to grow and can be cultivated in a variety of climates, making it a popular choice for home gardeners and chefs alike.

In addition to its unique flavor and appearance, it also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is believed to have a range of health benefits, including acting as an anti-inflammatory, aiding digestion, and reducing stress and anxiety.

Basil 'Anise'

About Christopher Evans

Hello, I'm Chris, the green-thumbed Founder of PotGardener.com. I'm passionate about bringing the beauty of nature indoors through houseplants and indoor gardening. Let's create healthier and more beautiful living spaces, one plant at a time!

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