Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 284 Illicium floridanum

Common Names: Florida anise, purple anise, stink-bush, star-anise Family: Illiciaceae (illicium Family)
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Florida anise flower
Close inspection of the Florida anise flower shows it to be a shy beauty.


Florida anise is a broad-leaved evergreen shrub or small tree with a compact stature and a maximum height of 10 ft (3 m). The leaves are leathery, smooth and shiny, 2-6 in (5-15 cm) long and an inch or two wide. When crushed, they emit a characteristic anise-like odor, obnoxious to some, but pleasant to others. The flowers, about 2 in (5 cm) in diameter with 20-30 slender maroon petals, are attractive but tend to be overlooked in the lush shiny foliage. The flowers also have a peculiar odor - like that of a live fish! When ripe, the shiny, jewel-like seeds literally explode out of the papery star-shaped fruits. Several cultivars, including one with white flowers, are available.


Florida anise, Illicium floridanum, occurs in moist wooded ravines and steep-heads from the Florida panhandle to southeastern Louisiana.


Light: Grows in partial shade to full shade, but reportedly can be acclimated to full sun (if well watered). Moisture: Tolerates moist soil; should be mulched and watered during prolonged dry spells as it has a tendency to wilt. Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 10. Propagation: By seed or cuttings.
Florida anise
Florida anise has an attractively dense form and is a slow grower that rarely requires pruning to maintain its shape.


With its shiny evergreen leaves, single trunk and reaching no more than 10 ft (3 m) in height, Florida anise is a pretty little tree. It can be planted in full shade or sun, and requires almost no maintenance. Plant it where you want a splash of luxuriant green foliage all year long as you might a gardenia or small camellia.


Florida anise is protected by the state of Florida as a threatened species. Nevertheless, it is available from several native plant nurseries in Florida that have permits to sell listed species. The closely related star-anise (I. verum) from China and Vietnam is the source of a culinary spice and reportedly has medicinal uses. There's another member of the genus that is native to Florida called yellow anise I. parviflorum which is a popular landscaping shrub, especially for use as hedges.


This plant is toxic! Do not ingest. It is not a substitute for the culinary spice and flavorings obtained from Illicium verum.

Steve Christman 08/27/97, updated: js 4/27/99, 3/29/01, 9/9/03

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Illicium species profiled on Floridata:

Illicium floridanum

( Florida anise, purple anise, stink-bush, star-anise )

Illicium parviflorum

( yellow anise, yellow anisetree, star anise )

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