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Related subjects: Plants

Background Information

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This article is about the European herb. For the American herb, see Osmorhiza.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Myrrhis
Species: M. odorata
Binomial name
Myrrhis odorata
(L.) Scop.

Cicely or Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) is a plant belonging to the family Apiaceae, native to central Europe; it is the sole species in the genus Myrrhis. It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 2 m tall. The leaves are finely divided, feathery, up to 50 cm long. The flowers are white, about 2-4 mm across, produced in large umbels. The seeds are slender, 15-25 mm long and 3-4 mm broad.

Cultivation and uses

Its leaves are sometimes used as a herb, with a rather strong taste reminiscent of anise; it is used mainly in Germany and Scandinavia. Like its relatives anise, fennel, and caraway, it can also be used to flavour akvavit. Its essential oils are dominated by anethole.

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