Star Anise

Star Anise

Pronounced: AN-iss


Star anise is shaped like an eight-pointed star and contains seeds with an aniseed flavour, which comes from the spice’s essential oil, anethole. It is used widely in Chinese cooking and is one of the five spices in Chinese five-spice powder.

What Is Star Anise?

star-aniseStar anise is the star-shaped fruit of an evergreen plant known scientifically as Illicium verum. Originating in southern China, star anise has a licorice- or anise-like flavor, although it is not related to the true anise plants native to the Mediterranean basin and Middle East. Traditionally used as a spice and also as a healing herb, star anise appears to have medicinal properties that endow it with significant health benefits.

Plant and Cultivation

Star anise seeds are sowed in spring under cover and pot on, growing on in the greenhouse until at least the following year. Plant out into the most sheltered spot you can find, as it cannot take temperatures lower than about -5 C (23 F). Alternatively you could try growing it in a container, which can be moved under cover when the weather is too cold. It is a small tree, but many trees grow happily in containers.


Star anise is the unusual fruit of a small oriental tree. It is, as the name suggests, star shaped, radiating between five and ten pointed boat-shaped sections, about eight on average. These hard sections are seed pods. Tough skinned and rust coloured, they measure up to 3cm (1-1/4”) long. The fruit is picked before it can ripen, and dried. The stars are available whole, or ground to a red-brown powder.

Producing Countries of Star Anise

The greatest producing countries of Star Anise are China, Vietnam, India, Mexico, Turkey and Egypt.

Consuming Countries of Star Anise

United States and the 15 European Union member states are the greatest worldwide importers of Star Anise. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia.

Grades of Star Anise

Star Anise Without Stem

Star Anise With Stem

Broken Star Anise

Superior Star Anise

Standard Star Anise

Whole Dead Insects, by Count4
Mammalian excreta, by mg / lb3
Other excreta, by mg / lb5
Mold.% by Weight1
Insect Defiled / Infested, % by Weight1
Extraneous,% by Weight1
Adulteration with mammalian excreta Ave, of 3 mg / lb
Volitle Oil"2.5% min
Moisture"10.0% max
Ash"6.0% max
Acid Insoluble ash"1.0% max
Average bulk Index (mg /100 g )230
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