Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum

$7.00

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Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, Medicinal Plants, Organic, 4in potted plant, Heirloom, GMO Free plants

The leaves and tiny lavender-blue flowers of anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) smell and taste of anise, but its square stems and opposite leaves tell you it belongs to a different family entirely, the Lamiaceae (Labiatae), or mint family. The leaves look a bit like catnip, another mint-family member, but larger. Herb lovers claim it as a culinary herb, using the fresh or dried leaves in tea and crumbling the tangy flowers over fruit salad — but the wildflower books list it as a native wildflower of north-central North America. And though it’s called hyssop, it’s not the hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis, a blue-, pink- or white-flowered European member of the mint family traditionally used as a healing herb.

An herbaceous perennial hardy in Zones 4 to 9, the upright anise hyssop reaches 2 to 4 feet in height and about 1 foot across. In the wild, the season of bloom is from June to September; in the garden, count on flowers in late summer. The 4- to 6-inch dense spikes of small, two-lipped flowers are variously characterized as purple, dusky dull indigo-violet, blue and violet-blue. Bees love the flowers, and so do herb crafters, as blossoms retain their fragrance and color when dried.

Anise hyssop is a handsome addition to the back of the perennial border. It has been recommended as a worthy companion to Japanese anemones, but it would be equally attractive with other softly colored or white ornamentals such as companulas, or with herbs such as garlic chives, oregano and thymes.