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Vascular Plants of California
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Foeniculum vulgare

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to perennial herb [shrub, tree], generally from taproot. Stem: generally +- scapose, generally ribbed, hollow. Leaf: basal and generally cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, occasionally compound. Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present in involucres or 0; bractlets generally present in "involucels". Flower: many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally +- ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a +- conic, persistent projection or platform at tip subtending 2 free styles. Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves (= mericarps), separating from each other but generally +- persistent to central axis; ribs on halves 5, 2 marginal, 3 to back; oil tubes 1--several per interval between ribs.
Genera In Family: 300 genera, 3000 species: +- worldwide, especially temperate; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); Bupleurum lancifolium Hornem. is historical garden weed; some toxic (e.g., Conium). Note: Mature fruit generally critical in identification, shape given in outline. Hydrocotyle moved to Araliaceae, Orogenia moved to Lomatium, Sphenosciadium moved to Angelica. Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill is a waif.
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: FoeniculumView Description 

Etymology: (Latin: fennel)
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Habit: Perennial herb, taprooted, 0.9--2 m, glabrous, glaucous, anise- or licorice-scented. Stem: erect, branched, solid. Leaf: petiole 7--14 cm, conspicuously sheathing; blade 3--4 dm wide, triangular-ovate, finely pinnately dissected, segments 4--40 mm, thread-like. Inflorescence: umbels compound, peduncled; bracts, bractlets 0; rays 15--40, unequal, 1--4 cm, spreading-ascending to ascending; pedicels 18--25, 1--10 mm, +- equal. Flower: calyx lobes 0; petals wide, yellow, tips narrowed. Fruit: 3.5--4 mm, oblong-ovate, compressed side-to-side, glabrous; ribs +- equal, prominent, acute; oil tube 1 per rib-interval; fruit axis divided to base. Seed: face generally flat. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Roadsides, disturbed sites; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, W&I; Distribution Outside California: native to southern Europe; widely escaped from cultivation in western hemisphere. Flowering Time: May--Sep Note: Locally abundant, invasive.
Jepson eFlora Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Foeniculum vulgare
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Botanical illustration including Foeniculum vulgare

botanical illustration including Foeniculum vulgare

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Citation for this treatment: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax 2012, Foeniculum vulgare, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 18, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 18, 2024.

Foeniculum vulgare
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©2015 Neal Kramer
Foeniculum vulgare
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©2009 Thomas Stoughton
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
©2008 Neal Kramer
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
©2009 Thomas Stoughton
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
©2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Foeniculum vulgare
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Geographic subdivisions for Foeniculum vulgare:
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2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).