What is an anise?

What is an anise? Here are some definitions.

Noun
  1. An umbelliferous plant (Pimpinella anisum) growing naturally in Egypt, and cultivated in Spain, Malta, etc., for its carminative and aromatic seeds, which are used as a spice. It has a licorice scent.
  2. (US) Fennel
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Star Anise is so named from the stellate form of its fruit. It is often chewed in small quantities after each meal to promote digestion.
Often called Finocchia or Sweet Anise. The bulblike enlargement at the top of the stem is eaten raw, like celery, or used for flavoring. Has a licorice flavor.
Adding to the garden's beauty are plants that attract native butterflies, including Monarchs, Pipevine Swallowtails and Anise Swallowtails.
Mints. wild bergamot, and yarrow, attract the American Painted Lady, Anise Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Monarch, and Red Admiral.
For example, Star Anise, that peculiar spice that looks like a fossilised flower, has really changed my stews, adding an unfamiliar glamour to shin of beef.
Anise kneels down beside me, touching my hair in her right hand and stroking it like a house cat.

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