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Zone
Zones 4-9, 14-24
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Ample Water
Ample
Toxicity
All parts of Illicium anisatum are poisonous if ingested

Illicium

Anise Tree

Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

Little-used but attractive clan of shrubs or small trees noted for thick, leathery, glossy leaves (anise scented when crushed) and spring flowers with many petal-like segments reminiscent of small magnolia blossoms. Fruits that follow are small, one-sided pods arranged in a ring. Though related to the star anise (I. verum) of Chinese cookery, these species are inedible. All like rich soil with abundant organic material. Big, bold foliage gives the impression of rhododendrons. Seldom need pruning.

Illicium mexicanum (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)
Illicium mexicanum (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)

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Illicium mexicanum

Native to northern Mexico. Grows to 4 ft. tall and wide. Narrowly oval, pointed leaves are medium green with red stems. Reddish pink flowers, to 2 in. across, are produced mainly in spring, with some repeat bloom through summer.

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