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ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad
Common name: Fennel, Sweet fennel, Florence fennel, Finocchio • Hindi: मोटी सौंफ Moti saunf • Manipuri: ꯍꯣꯞ Hop • Tamil: Sompu • Malayalam: Preumjirakam • Telugu: Peddajilakarra • Kannada: Dodda sompu • Bengali: মৌৰী Mauri • Sanskrit: Misreya, Madhurika
Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare    Family: Apiaceae (Carrot family)

Fennel is a highly aromatic biennial herb, erect, shining green, and grows to 2.5 m tall, with hollow stems. The leaves grow up to 40 cm long; they are finely dissected, with the ultimate segments filament-like, about 0.5 mm wide. The leaves are similar to those of dill, yet slightly thinner in comparison. The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels (umbrella like clusters arising from the same point on the stem) 5–15 cm wide, each umbel section with 20–50 tiny yellow flowers on short stalks. The fruit is a dry seed from 4–10 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved. This fruit is what the plant is better known for, and is usually mistakenly called seed. Fennel is used in Indian cooking. It is an essential ingredient while making biryani, the delicious aromatic rice preparation.

Identification credit: Vasant M. Salian Photographed in Delhi.

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