Where to find wild fennel, a plant of the four seasons

Wild fennel, also known as bitter fennel or fennel, finocchiello or anicetto, is an edible spontaneous herb that is easy to find. It’s a aromatic plantamong the most used ingredients in traditional cuisine, not to be confused with sweet fennel or cultivated, its noble relative.

The wild plant, like the vegetable one, is also widely used in herbal medicine, mainly as natural remedy against gastro-intestinal disorders for the marked digestive action, diuretic and purifying. So here’s where to find wild fennel and how and when to use it correctly.

Where to find wild fennel

Belonging to the Apiaceae family, the same as carrot and celery, wild fennel, scientific name Common fennelis a very common plant, widespread throughout the Mediterranean area and since ancient times. It is an extremely rustic species and therefore resists well even to less temperate climates. In fact, it is not uncommon to find wild fennel even in the mountains, up to altitudes of 1000 metres, but it certainly develops better in sunny places e loose land. Fennel is mostly harvested in country meadows but it is also found in drier corners and stony environments, along paths and fences or on the roadsides.

Seasonality of fennel

Wild fennel it is found all year round and the harvesting period mainly depends on the use to be made of it in the kitchen. The leaves are harvested in spring, the flowers in summer. In autumn you can stock up on fruits, while in winter, during the vegetative phase, only the root of the plant is harvested.

How to recognize wild fennel

Wild fennel is a plant easily recognizable. The leaves are certainly a first distinctive sign: they are thin and oblong, so much so that they seem threadlike. The stem is erect and in optimal conditions it can reach two meters in height. In summer, during flowering, the plant develops characteristic flowers which from greenish become yellow, arranged in umbrellas. The oblong-shaped fruits originate from the flowers, often incorrectly called seeds because they are achenes.

Unlike sweet fennel it does not develop the lumpthat is the white part that grows around the stem of the plant and that we commonly use as a vegetable.

Beware of fennel or inedible wild fennel

There is also a similar version of the wild fennel plant but inedible. É la cane o fennelin upper Lazio also known as Ferla, responsible for the deaths of many grazing animals. Generally the livestock recognizes the danger of the ferrule and keeps away from it, but the risk still occurs for still young specimens, who cannot distinguish it. It is most often ingested because it is mowed and present in hay bales.

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