licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, isn't grown in Austin, Texas gardens,
but try these substitutes...
Licorice verbena is a shrubby tender
perennial that may grow up to 4 feet tall. It has large, lime green,
pointed leaves covered with stiff, scratchy hairs. It has a sweet
licorice scent and taste. Licorice verbena is best grown in a pot
so it can be brought inside during winter. Prune frequently to encourage
dense growth. It can grow in a shady location, but will have "leggy"
growth unless given morning sun.
False licorice is a charming ornamental
originally from South Africa. It has small, round, gray, woolly leaves
that invite touching. It is a creeping plant that is most attractive
when placed in hanging baskets, rock wall pockets or at the base of larger
potted plants. Hardy to zones 8-9, it is best to bring it in during
Austin, Texas winters or place it in a very protected location. False
licorice requires well draining soil and a sunny site. Central Texas
humidity is its worst enemy, be sure there is good air circulation around
Ocimum basilicum 'Anise'
This is a somewhat lanky growing basil with a sweet licorice
flavor. It grows to 30 inches and has pinkish whorls of flowers.
It is also called 'Licorice'. The licorice flavor is combined with
a "clove" taste. It is easily grown from seed and may even reseed
itself in the garden. Give it full sun and moist but well drained
soil. Pick frequently to encourage dense foliage.
Family Apiaceae TAMPhoto(142k)
Fennel is a licorice flavored herb
with feathery plumes of foliage and stunning umbels of yellow flowers.
Fennel seeds are best sown directly into the ground in early fall in Austin,
Tx. A hard freeze may nip the fennel, but it usually reappears as
temperatures warm. When summer heat comes the plant quickly bolts.
Fennel does well in full sun, but afternoon shade is tolerated.
The soil should be rich and moist, but well-drained. Fennel is a
food source for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. In the language
of flowers, fennel is considered an emblem of strength.
Mexican Mint Marigold
South Texans have trouble keeping
tarragon through the long, hot summer, but instead they are blessed with
"Texas Tarragon". This anise flavored perennial is a wonderful addition
to the landscape. Growing to 30 inches, the shapely clump becomes
ablaze in fall with golden marigold-like blossoms. As if beauty weren't
enough, the plant's delightful anise flavor that can be used in place of
tarragon (but it is not an identical substitute, the taste of mexican mint
marigold is milder and more anise-like). It also makes an excellent
addition to teas and punches, especially if combined with lemon flavored
herbs. Mexican Mint Marigold is easy to grow. It does best
in full sun and wants well draining soil. It is fairly drought tolerant.
It may be propagated by seeds, root divisions, or cuttings. The plant
will die back during cold weather, but springs to life with its stems of
elongated leaves when spring temperatures arrive. In Northern climates
it is grown as an annual.
Anise hyssop is a delightful licorice
scented perennial native to the great plains of North America.
Growing to three feet in height, anise hyssop has triangular, dark gray
green leaves and spikes of violet flowers in the summer. Bumblebees
and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. It does best in full
sun and well-drained soil. It is easily sown from seed and once established
in your garden, seedlings may begin popping up in unexpected places.
The tea made from the leaves of anise hyssop is sweet and soothing.