One troublesome plant that is present on my property is multiflora rose (rosa multiflora). On my early visits to the property after I bought it, I looked around and saw quite a number of large rose bushes and also a fair number of smaller plants. In early Spring, when wild anise (pimpinella anisum) is small, it somewhat resembles multiflora rose, so I thought that I had a worse infestation of rose than I actually did because when I went to pull what I thought was multiflora rose, the stem broke off and I thought, “uh oh, I’m in trouble – this is a root sucker of multiflora rose.” Nope. It turns out that wild anise breaks off at ground level pretty easily. If you want to see the root, you need to dig with a garden trowel to extract it from the ground. Crushing the stem or the root produces a pleasant licorice scent, which serves to identify the plant. As the year progresses, wild anise will reach perhaps (at a maximum) 18″ in height. I was lucky enough to find a plant that had set seed:
Wild anise is not a native plant to Virginia – it was brought by the early colonists from Europe. The plant has been in cultivation for at least 4,000 years and is a popular herbal remedy for a number of digestive ailments. Interestingly enough, an herbal tea of anise can be used to relieve heartburn and indigestion – you don’t need to go to the local drug store to buy commercially made heartburn remedies.