Fennel. Sweet Fennel.
A common garden plant, kept for its use in the kitchen, rather than its medicinal virtues. It grows six or eight feet high. The stalk is round, hollow, and of a deep green colour; the leaves are large, and divided into a vast number of fine slender segments, and they are also of a deep or bluish green colour. The flowers stand at the tops of the branches, and are small and yellow; but there grow large clusters of them together; the seed is small, dark coloured, and striated, and is of a sharp acrid taste; the root is long and white.
The root is the part most used; a decoction made of it with common water, and given in large quantities, works by urine, and is good against the gravel and in the jaundice.
A garden plant very like the common kind, but of a paler colour. It grows four feet high; the stalk is round, hollow, striated, upright, and branched; and the leaves are large and divided into a great number of fine segments, in the manner of those of common fennel, but both these and the stalks are of a pale yellowish green colour, not so dark as in the other kind. The flowers are yellowish, and stand in small clusters or umbels; the seeds follow, two after each flower; and they are quite different from those of the common fennel, in size, shape, colour, and taste. They are long, slender, of a pale colour, a little crooked, and deeply striated. Their taste is sweetish and a little acrid.
As the roots are the part most used of the common fennel, the seeds are the only part used of this. They are excellent in the colic, and are used externally with success in pultices to swellings. The seeds of the common fennel are used by some, but they are very hot and acrid. These are preferable for internal use.