Fennel is a native plant of the Mediterranean region and originally grew only in those areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It yields both a herb and a spice. Roots, stalks, leaves and dried seeds of the plant are edible. It is called marathon in Greece, the name derived from the word maraino, meaning to grow thin.

Fennel has been around for thousands of years. In 490 BC the Ancient Greeks fought with the Persians in a famous battle at the city of Marathon. According to the story, the battle ground was actually a field of fennel and the word for fennel is derived for the Greek woed. The Puritans called fennel seeds ”meeting seeds”, due to the fact that during long church sermons or Puritan meetings, they chewed on the seeds to fend off hunger and tiredness. In Chinese and Hindu cultures fennel was ingested to speed the elimination of poisons from the system, particularly after snakebite and scorpion stings.

Description and Cultivation

Fennel is a hardy perennial related to parsley reachs heights of 1.5-2.5 m. Blue gren filiform leaf segments (40 cm long ) are finely dissected, with the ultimate segments about 0.5 mm wide. The bright yellow flowers, produced in large, flat terminal umbels, with from 13 to 20 rays, they are in bloom in July and August. Fennel seeds split into two, one sometimes remaining on the stalk. Seeds are 4-8 mm long, thin and curved, with colour varying from brown to light green. The flower heades are collected before the seeds ripen and threshed out when they completely dried.  Ideal soils for cultivating the fennel are deep and well-drained soil, which is non-acidic in chemical composition, at the same time, any good quality soil can be used to cultivate the fennel. The optimum pH range tolerated by the fennel lies from 4.8 to 8.2. The plant grows best when it is exposed to the full sunlight, even though it also grows quite well in shaded areas.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom : Plantea
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Apiales
Family : Apiaceae
Genius : Foeniculum
Species : F.vulgare