University of Tennessee
Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
Plants X, Y, and Z

Yellow Anise (Illicium parviflorum)

Yellow Anise Yellow Anise is a rare native species of central Florida where it is a state-listed endangered species. It is also found in southern Georgia, but is considered to have escaped from cultivation there. It is used as a hedge plant in landscaping throughout much of the Southeast. A robust example of Yellow Anise can be seen east of the Program Shelter in the Shade Tree Collection. Yellow Anise belongs to the same genus as Star-Anise (Illicium vernum), found in China and Vietnam and used as a substitute for the culinary spice anise prepared from the unrelated plant Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum).

Yellow Anise is a dense shrub or small tree that typically grows to a height of 15-20 ft. It produces multiple stems where its branches touch the ground and develop roots by suckering. It also produces root sprouts that can develop into new stems.

Yellow Anise Flowers Yellow Anise Fruit Yellow Anise has alternate, simple, olive-green, leaves, 2-6 in. long. In June and July, it produces inconspicuous (1/2 in. wide), yellow-green flowers with 6-12 petals on drooping flower stalks. The fruits develop into brown, star-shaped pods with many seeds. The twigs, leaves and flowers smell like anise (root beer or licorice odor). Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum), which is a frequently planted shrub, is native to the Florida Panhandle and is distinguished from Yellow Anise by its maroon flowers and sharp pointed leaves. All plant parts of Yellow Anise and Florida Anise are toxic.

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Yellow Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Midwinter Fire')

Yellow Twig Dogwood Stems Yellow Twig Dogwood Yellow Twig Dogwood Flower

As fall progresses into winter, a bright spot of color in the Arboretum’s Wildflower Garden is a Yellow Twig Dogwood. This is a cultivar of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea, also known as Cornus stolonifera), a northern species that is not native to Tennessee. While Red Osier Dogwood is noted for its bright red to dark red stems and vegetative reproduction from stolons, several cultivars have been developed that have different colored stems. Our specimen is ‘Midwinter Fire,’ which is characterized by stems with a combination of yellow, red, and orange colors. Its leaves are similar to our Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), but the small flowers are borne in flat-topped cymes. The colorful stems, apparent during the winter months, make this a desirable plant for landscaping. Cutting the stems back each year promotes the continued development of the brightly colored stems. Additional information about Red Osier dogwood cultivars can be found on the UT Gardens website.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu