Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, is an herbaceous perennial plant in the family Apiaceae grown for use as a herb or flavoring. The fennel plant is an erect herb with 4–5 hollow stems and distinctly divided feathery foliage. The leaves are simple and linear and are 2–15 cm in length. Uncooked fennel has a mild licorice flavor and crunchy texture. When fennel is cooked, the flavor becomes more delicate and the texture softens. Fennel can be sauteed, braised, baked and added to soups or stews. The feathery leaves have an even milder flavor and can be used in soups and salads or as a garnish.
The fennel plant originated in the Mediterranean countries. In India, it is cultivated in Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam. The flowers of this plant are yellow in color and are seen in the peak summer period. The seeds of fennel are sweet in taste and have a liquorice flavor.