from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An aromatic evergreen tree (Illicium verum) cultivated in China and Vietnam, having star-shaped anise-scented fruits that yield an essential oil used as a flavoring and in the manufacture of certain drugs.
  • noun The dried fruit of this plant, used ground or whole in Asian cooking.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The aromatic fruit of a Chinese shrub or small tree long supposed to be the Illicium anisatum of Linnæus, but recently determined to be a distinct species, I. verum (named by J. D. Hooker).
  • noun The tree which yields star-anise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A plant, Illicium verum, used primarily for its star-shaped seed which resembles anise in scent and flavor, and which is used as a spice. Valued for its decorative shape as well as its flavor. Also used commercially as a source of shikimic acid for the production of Tamiflu.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun anise-scented star-shaped fruit or seed used in Asian cooking and medicine
  • noun small shrubby tree of Japan and Taiwan; flowers are not fragrant
  • noun small tree of China and Vietnam bearing anise-scented star-shaped fruit used in food and medicinally as a carminative


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  • An essential ingredient in Pho.

    September 25, 2007

  • Yum. This is lovely in every way.

    September 25, 2007

  • Star anise, star aniseed, badiane or Chinese star anise, (Chinese: 八角, pinyin: b�?jiǎo, lit. "eight-horn") is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a small native evergreen tree of southwest China. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, in Indian cuisine where it is a major component of garam masala, and in Malay/Indonesian cuisine. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking.


    February 11, 2008