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(Foeniculum vulgare)
Sweet Fennel

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

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Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Yellow flowers of sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).
Flowers of Sweet Fennel — Javier martin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Bronze Fennel, Finocchio, Florence Fennel

Description of Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

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.

Hosted Species

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) on a coneflower.
Black Swallowtail on coneflower — Ltshears, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) on a willow.
Anise Swallowtail on a willow — ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

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


This species grows in open areas such as fields and meadows.

Introduced Range of Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) in the United States and Canada

Range map of sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Foeniculum, comes from the name of an Italian salad and the species name, vulgare, means common.


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Sweet Fennel”

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