Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anise Scented Hyssop ~ Agastache foeniculum

Guest post by Michael Lynch


Anise Scented Hyssop, Purple Giant Hyssop
 ~ Agastache foeniculum

Anise Hyssop is one of the few beautiful native wildflowers that we in the frozen north can call our own. It is native from essentially the Twin Cities, North and west through North Dakota and Montana with only a few scattered areas elsewhere. From what I hear, it grows successfully much further south.

In the garden, Hyssop has a lot going for it. It has attractive blue flowers that are a magnet for bees and butterflies. It's flower heads retain purplish color even after they are done blooming, and it reblooms throughout the summer starting in June.

Anise Hyssop is quite easy to grow sometimes it becomes a little too easy. It prefers full sun however still looks quite attractive under part shade. It is a perennial plant, but it can usually bloom it's first year from seed. It has been known to be weedy in the garden and I dead head mine so that it won't reseed too heavily.

A notable characteristic of this species is its scent. If you brush your hand over a flower head you will notice a distinct scent of anise. If you like anise, you can use it to make teas or drinks. If you love anise you will plant it near a side walk so you can pick a leaf and taste it. If you really love anise, you can plant Hyssop in your herb and vegetable garden for browsing purposes.


I keep a few plants in my vegetable garden so that whenever I go out, I can pick the tenderest young leaves from the tips and eat them while I tend the garden. When the leaves are mature, the flavor is too strong and rather bitter.