Fennel is a hardy herb, green, and grows to heights of up to 2.5 m, with hollow stems. It has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. The leaves grow up to 40 cm long and similar to dill. The fruit is a dry seed, 4–10 mm long. Fennel leaves and fruit are strongly-flavoured. Indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, it has become widely naturalised in many parts of the world, especially near the sea-coast and on river-banks. It is a highly aromatic and flavourful herb. Their inflated leaf bases are eaten as a vegetable, both raw and cooked. The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are edible. Fennel pollen is the most potent form of fennel. The leaves are delicately flavoured. The bulb is a crisp, hardy root vegetable and may be sauteed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. Fennel is the perfect accompaniment to rich meats such as pork or lamb. Florence fennel plants are smaller than the wild type. Fennel has become naturalised along roadsides, in pastures, and in other open sites. Florence fennel was one of the three main herbs used in the preparation of absinthe, originating in Switzerland. Ancient Romans regarded fennel as the herb of sight. Root extracts were often used in tonics to clear cloudy eyes.
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