The Starry Headed Anise Tree.

Botanical name: 

Anisum stellatum.

A tall and very beautiful tree, native of the East, and much esteemed there. The trunk is covered with a thick bark: the branches are irregular and spreading. The leaves are very large and beautiful; they are composed each of ten or twelve pair of others set on a common rib, with an odd one at the end; they are longish, broad, serrated at the edges, and pointed at the ends, and are of a beautiful pale green colour, and of a fragrant smell when bruised, such as that we perceive in the young leaves of the walnut tree, but with a mixture of somewhat aromatic. The flowers stand at the tops of the branches, on divided pedicles; they are white and very fragrant. The fruit is of a singular figure, of the shape of a star, and of a woody substance; it is composed of five or more rays, and in each is a single, smooth, brown seed. They have the smell of aniseed, and thence have been called by the name, for there is not the least resemblance between the plants which produce the two; one being a small herb, and the other a large and fine tree.

The fruit is only used, and we sometimes see it at the druggists; if the present practice encouraged it we might have it common enough: and it is one of those drugs which we neglect, while we are fond of such as do not deserve the distinction. It is an excellent medicine against coldness of the stomach, colics, and those head-achs which arise from indigestion. It also works powerfully by urine; and with it possesses all the virtues of aniseed and many others; and even in a very superior degree: it has not its disagreeable flavour. An oil drawn from it by distillation, is sweet and excellent; it has all the virtues of our oil of aniseed, but not its disagreeable taste, and it does not congeal like it in cold weather.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.