Welcome to a new feature on my blog – a weekly discussion of the history, lore and usage of common and uncommon herbs.
I’m not very fond of fennel’s taste, but I love its history, lore and “magical” properties. In ancient Greece, it was an herb of victory and courage, and was worn with other herbs in the hero’s crown. Dried fennel seed heads, along with rue, rosemary, and dill were woven into a wreath and hung over the fireplace for protection. A bunch of dried fennel tied with a red ribbon was hung over the door for protection against intruders.
Fennel has been used to sooth the intestines, ease flatulence, and to sweeten the breath.
A perennial, it is relatively easy to grow. It thrives in rich soil and plenty of sun. Don’t plant near beans, caraway, tomatoes or kohlrabi as it is said to have an adverse effect on these plants. You can harvest a little of the feathery stalks for kitchen use, or gather the seedheads and dry them when the plant is finished flowering.
Photo found on Pinterest