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Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Host Plant: Black Swallowtail and Anise Swallowtail

Nectar Plant: many insects

Flower Color: yellow

Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial plant that grows to 2-3 feet tall

Range in North America: Naturalized in North America

Exposure: Full Sun

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Soil Requirements: Moist, well-drained soil

Bronze Fennel, Finocchio, Florence Fennel

Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), a member of the Apiaceae (Carrot Family), is a herbaceous perennial that has yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.  This plant is native to Europe, but has been naturalized in North America.  This plant can grow to 4-6 feet tall and requires full sun.  This plant has an anise or licorice aroma and can be used in salads.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail Butterfly – Kaldari, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

Anise Swallowtail on flower – ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bees and other insects use this plant as a nectar source.

Sweet Fennel is found in open areas such as fields and meadows.  It is native to Mediterranean Europe, but has been naturalized throughout North America. It is considered to be a noxious weed in Washington State (Biota of North America Program).

The genus name comes from the name of an Italian salad and the species mean common (Missouri Botanical Garden).


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