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Florida Anise Tree Illicium floridanum

Other Common Name(s):

Description

An attractive evergreen shrub in the Schisandraceae family, native to Florida.  It has fragrant foliage when leaves are crushed.  Both the foliage and fruit are poisonous to livestock. Spreads by root suckers. Tolerates heavy shade, erosion and wet planting sites.  It is not cold hardy.  Would be ideal in a rain garden or allowed to naturalize.  This is a great evergreen shrub for moist, shady locations 

A rapid growing, low maintenance shrub with spectacular foliage is a combination that’s hard to beat.  The plant has a multi-stemmed, upright, compact habit. The foliage is quite attractive and aromatic, smelling similar to anise spice when crushed. The shiny, leathery leaves are olive green in color and the 1½-inch flowers are dark red, with many petals appearing in the early spring.

Illicium species usually reach a height between 10 to 15 feet and should be spaced in the landscape at least five feet apart. Florida anise’s natural habitats are the wet, swampy areas or wooded streams with acidic rich soil from Florida to Louisiana, but it will thrive here in the Carolinas. Illicium grows in partial shade to full shade, but reportedly can be acclimated to full sun if well-watered. It prefers moist soil and definitely should be mulched and watered during prolonged dry spells, as it has a tendency to wilt. The recommended USDA zones range from 7 to 10.

 

The anise that is used as a spice is derived from a different species, Illicium verum, an evergreen tree native to southern China and Vietnam.

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage: Evergreen   Bloom: Spring, April-May

Wildlife Value: Flowers are attractive to pollinators.  This plant is resistant to damage by deer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. The leaves may discolor in sun or if exposed to harsh winds.

Compare this Plant to: I. parviflorum a popular landscaping shrub, especially for use as hedges, and it is more tolerant of sun and dry soil, or the rare, yellow-flowered speciesIllicium simonsii.

Cultivars:
  • 'Alba'
    has white flowers
  • 'Halley's Comet'
  • 'Semnes'
  • 'Shady Lady'
    variegated
  • 'Woodland Ruby'
    an interspecific hybrid between I. floridanum 'Alba' and I. mexicanum
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#pollinators#rain garden#heavy shade#fragrant leaves#low maintenance#riparian#naturalize#erosion control#wet sites
Cultivars:
  • 'Alba'
    has white flowers
  • 'Halley's Comet'
  • 'Semnes'
  • 'Shady Lady'
    variegated
  • 'Woodland Ruby'
    an interspecific hybrid between I. floridanum 'Alba' and I. mexicanum
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#pollinators#rain garden#heavy shade#fragrant leaves#low maintenance#riparian#naturalize#erosion control#wet sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Illicium
    Species:
    floridanum
    Family:
    Schisandraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Florida
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers are attractive to pollinators
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    more than 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Showy red blooms (having an unpleasant odor) with many strap-shaped petals that nod on stem ends
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil