Anise Tree

Illicium simonsii

Exceptionally fragrant shrub or small flowering tree from China. Crushed foliage releases a spicy anise fragrance. Creamy yellow blooms may produce showy seedpods that resemble culinary star anise- do not ingest! Excellent for cool, lightly shaded spots.
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Filtered sun, Partial shade

Needs regular watering - weekly, or more often in extreme heat.


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Botanical Pronunciationil-LISS-ee-um
LoreThis ornamental shrub or small tree is native to the mountains of southeastern China. If planted in groups, it often produces interesting, star-shaped seedpods that are remarkably similar to that of the culinary seasoning obtained from Illicium verum - however the seeds of this species are not edible and should not be ingested.
Average Size at MaturitySlowly reaches 6 to 8 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide.
Bloom TimeLate spring; may sporadically produce fragrant non-edible fruit.
Design IdeasPlant in woodland garden understory, or in lightly shaded beds in the company of spring blooming rhododendrons and camellias.
Deciduous/ EvergreenEvergreen
Flower AttributeShowy Flowers
Flower ColorYellow
Foliage ColorGreen
Growth HabitPyramidal
Growth RateSlow
Landscape UseBorder, Mass Planting, Specimen, Woodland Garden
Light NeedsFiltered sun, Partial shade
Special FeatureEasy Care, Fruit Poisonous, Tolerates Acidic Soil
Water NeedsModerate
Watering NeedsNeeds regular watering - weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
Companion PlantsAralia (Fatsia); Sweet Box (Sarcococca); Tree Fern (Dicksonia); Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra); Bush Lily (Clivia)

Provide well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Protect from harsh afternoon sun. Mulch to keep roots cool and conserve moisture. Feed with an acid fertilizer before spring growth. Rarely requires pruning.

This Plant's Growing Zones: 8-10

Your USDA Cold Hardiness Zone:

Your climate may be too cold for this plant