Perennial Fennel, Bronze Fennel
Foeniculum vulgare is a beautiful garden herb that grows into a stately two-metre high specimen with soft feathery leaves that catch the sunlight. As a native to the shores of the Mediterranean it likes free-draining soil and a sunny position and does not always survive very wet or cold winters. It is a perennial and can be cut down when the leaves start to fade, which will cause it to shoot up again. It produces attractive yellow flower heads that are the size of dinner plates and at least one plant should be allowed to go to seed so that the seeds can be collected and dried.
Use fennel leaves in salads and salad dressings, as an ingredient for stuffing for chicken, fish and lamb, and for lightly flavouring egg dishes. The bulb can be sliced and added to salads, stir fries and vegetable bakes. The bulb can also be cooked whole and served with parsley sauce. The seeds have a stronger taste than the leaves and can be used for flavouring as well as for making an aromatic tea that is an excellent digestive.