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Green Fennel

Green fennel has a very colorful past. It is believed that the warriors drink green fennel tea to boost their courage before going to battle, while Emperor Charlemagne required the cultivation of green fennel on all imperial farms, which is a lot considering the extent of his empire at the height of his power.

Even in Greek mythology, green fennel has been mentioned particularly during the time Prometheus brought fire from Olympus to Earth, thanks to a giant stalk of green fennel which carried the fire.

The reputation of the green fennel as a valued plant remains today. We use the leaves and seeds for flavor, while we cook the bulb as a vegetable. Many modern dishes include green fennel as a key ingredient. Many countries are involved in the commercial production and importation of green fennel in different parts of the world.

Classification Information:
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales 
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Foeniculum
Species: F. vulgare
Binomial name: Foeniculum vulgare

Green Fennel Trivia

  • The ancient Greeks believed that eating green fennel grants you access to godly knowledge.
  • Ancient Romans believed that eating green fennel will keep them from becoming obese.
  • The ingredients used to make absinthe – a popular alcoholic drink with a controversial past – includes green fennel.

Green Fennel Buying Guide

Before going out to buy green fennel, it helps to be acquainted with the two varieties sold in the market:

  • Foeniculum vulgare is the type of green fennel you need to buy if you are looking for green fennel to use as an herb.
  • Florence fennel or Finocchio (Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum) and sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce) are vegetable fennels used for cooking.

If you go to the market, you will find that green fennel is usually sold cut to pieces and each is sold separately (leaves, seed, bulb). In farmers markets or in farm stands, it is normal to find green fennel whole and intact, sold as it is. If you are buying green fennel leaves, inspect the color of the leaves and their overall condition. It should have a vibrant color and looks clean and does not have too many broken or bruised stems. Buy just enough for immediate use. If you have a fly problem and you want to be rid of this insect, make sure to include in your shopping list a bottle or a packet of powdered green fennel which is a proven fly repellent.

Green Fennel Production & Farming in Texas

Green fennel thrives best when you plant it in soil that has a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. The soil moisture must be consistent because if the soil becomes too dry, the plant will bolt. Green fennel can grow in cold climates but it cannot withstand frosting. Green fennel requires direct sunlight. 

In Central Texas, winter is the time when green fennels start to grow so that by spring, the green fennel plant is ready for harvest. 

Be careful when planting green fennel. Some consider green fennel as invasive because it can eliminate native plants and overrun your plot or garden.


The common pests attacking and damaging green fennel plants include (but are not limited to) aphids, thrips, leaf-eating caterpillars, and cutworm. A pesticide is used as a pre-emptive method or as a form of response to certain infestation

  • Carbaryl – use against cutworms
  • Cyfluthrin – use against cutworms
  • Horticultural oil – use against aphids and thrips
  • Insecticidal soaps – use against aphids and thrips
  • Neem oil – use against aphids
  • Permethrin – use against cutworms
  • Piperonyl butoxide – use against thrips
  • Pyrethrins – use against thrips

Be careful in using chemicals on green fennel plants because green fennel is a host plant for swallowtail butterflies and it is important to avoid killing foliage-eating larvae since the leaves will grow back eventually.


Green fennel is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean area, but today, it is common to see green fennels cultivated in different countries where the climate is suitable. Italy is the largest producer of green fennel. Egypt is one of the countries that has been importing green fennel into the US. India, Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Indonesia, and Pakistan produce green fennel seeds distributed worldwide.


Whole green fennel or freshly-cut green fennel leaves are sold in sealed plastic or plastic containers. Green fennel seeds and dried green fennel powder are sold in plastic packs or bottles.

Enjoying Green Fennel

Green fennel looks like celery but its taste is closer to anise or licorice when you eat it. If you have eaten every part of the green fennel you will notice that the leaves have a stronger taste compared to the more mellow taste of the bulb.


You can put freshly-cut green fennel in the refrigerator. Put the green fennel inside a plastic bag and put this inside the refrigerator. You can also wrap it in a paper cloth or towel before putting it inside the refrigerator to extend the freshness for up to 10 to 14 days, at least. You can also freeze it by chopping frond and stalk and putting these inside an ice cube tray which should be stored in the freezer. Another option for storing green fennel is by drying the leaves. Spread these out on a drying screen and then place this in a warm, dry room to allow it to completely dry. Make sure to turn the leaves every two days to make sure these dry out evenly. You’ll know these are completely dry when they turn brittle. Put this in a jar or bottle. Place it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.


You can cook every part of the green fennel. The roots are cooked as a vegetable ingredient, as are the stems although some chop fresh green fennel stems and add them to vegetable salads. Like the stem, the bulb of the green fennel can either be eaten fresh or cooked. When cooking green fennel (any part of it), these are usually chopped into smaller pieces and added into soups or fish dishes. When making home-made tomato sauce or sausages, green fennel seed is used because of its ability to enhance flavor. Bakers and pastry chefs make good use of the flavor of the green fennel seed when they make cookies, cakes, and pastries.  


Green fennel gives us our much-needed dietary fibers, vitamins C, B9, and B6 and minerals such as potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Eating the green fennel bulbs alone provides the body with vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and manganese. 

  • Calcium: 49.00mg 
  • Iron: 0.73mg
  • Potassium: 414mg
  • Sodium: 52mg

Nutritional Benefits:

The ancients believed that eating green fennel is good for the body. They eat green fennel seeds to improve eyesight and increase strength. Today, the appreciation for green fennel continues. In India, green fennel seeds are chewed after eating to help in digestion and to freshen breath. Green fennel helps relax the muscles, alleviates flatulence, and assists breastfeeding mothers in producing milk.



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 31 2%
  • Carbs: 7.3g 2%
  • Sugar: 3.4g
  • Fiber: 3.1g 12%
  • Protein: 1.2g 2%
  • Fat: 0.2g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 52mg 2%
  • Vitamin C 12mg 20%
  • Vitamin A 134IU 3%
  • Calcium 49mg 5%
  • Iron 0.7mg 4%
  • Potassium 414mg 12%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 2%
  • Folate 27mg 7%
  • Magnesium 17mg 4%
  • Phosphorus 50mg 5%
  • Manganese 0.2mg 10%
  • Copper 0.1mg 3%
  • Zinc 0.2mg 1%

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