ANISE HYSSOP (Agastache foeniculum) is a fragrant perennial that is a great attractor of birds and bees. Its purple flowers grow on spikes from June to October and produce abundant nectar so it is a good honey plant as well (honey artisans note - it produces a light fragrant honey). It is the foliage which is fragrant and makes a wonderful tea and seasoning with strong anise flavor as its name suggests, but the lavender flowers are also edible and make a pretty garnish for salads and desserts. It is also used in potpourri and perfumes. The seeds are great for baking in cookies, cakes, muffins and scones. A member of the mint family, it will grow 2'-4' (occasionally as high as 6'). Particularly lovely when intersown with daisies and echinacea. Self-sows and is a perennial hardy in zones 6-9. 50 Seeds.
GROWING TIPS: Grows best in full sun but will tolerate some light shade. Careful about the soil - it prefers a neutral pH (6.0-6.5) that is not overly fertilized - in fact, too much nitrogen in the soil will kill it. A light-dependant germinater, so do not cover. Germinates in 2 weeks from direct sow.
SEED GATHERING: Birds love these seeds, so bag the flower heads when almost dry if you want to save.
MEDICINAL: Native Americans used anise hyssop tea to treat fevers, colds and coughs, using the leaf and root. It has also been used traditionally to treat stomach disorders, heat stroke and headaches. Modern study has shown that it stimulates gastric juices and enhances digestion. It also has antifungal properties.