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Anise hyssop

Anise Hyssop – Agastache foeniculum

Anise hyssop is one of those plants that keeps revealing its secrets. I wasn’t aware that this was even “anise hyssop” after it was first planted. But if crave the taste of black licorice, this plant will tempt you; its leaves really do taste like licorice, and you might find yourself tugging off leaves to chew throughout the day as you work in the garden.

Observing the steady traffic of bumblebees (mostly) that visit hyssop flowers during an afternoon, it is clear that this plant is abundantly open for bee business. Bumblebees from all walks of life seem happy to flit about their flower spikes in their quest for nectar and pollen. If hyssop were neighborhood pubs, they would have generous and friendly bartenders.

The seed production of this plant offers is also a phenomenon. From tapping out just a couple dozen hyssop flowers we collected more than enough seeds to give away hundreds of seed packets to community environmental fairs and other spring garden events.

Since this plant is wildly prolific, it is a variety you obviously don’t want to plant in an area where you don’t want it to spread. When we first planted this in a little postage stamp prairie area, we planted it with other competitive perennials; it held its space among the others.