Licorice . . . I like it and I don't like it

leftwood(z4a MN)December 14, 2005

I simply adore the fragrance of Agastache foeniculum (licorice plant), but I hate licorice.

I like the plant Agastache foeniculum, but I hate the aggressive seeding.

Are there any other alternatives, perhaps another species, that would please me? Julie, you have the Korean seed on your trade list. What's it like?


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abgardeneer(Z3, Calgary)

I grew Agastache pringlei from seed a couple of years ago, and found it quite lovely this summer....more of a pink, and with longer, more prominent flower stalks than foeniculum, and also hardy, so far. Native to the mountains of New Mexico and Mexico, apparently. Can't really comment on seeding yet, but then, I'm not particularly bothered by foeniculum's seeding...maybe it's our bark mulch that keeps seeding somewhat under control, don't know.
Anyway, I like it so far!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 8:42PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Much smaller leaved too, I see. Thanks for the photo ABgardeneer. Is it aromatic? A very quick search pulled up this article with a nice little chart of some agastache species and cultivars. But it only lists A. pringlei scent as "good". (Good what?)

Really, Agastache never interested me that much as a genus, even though it seems to be one of the rages at current. After seening the plethora of write-ups on the web, I might be rethinking my disinterest.


P.S. Julie: as luck has it, this guy wrote a short article on Poncirus trifoliata too!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 4:24PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

Rick, I checked out your link he has written some nice articles, thanks for adding it.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 4:35PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hey there-
What a glorious photo!!! Thanks for the visual reminder that there is Green Life out there some where-
Rick- as I recall- you liked the old no name plants scent best in my yard- the korean variety was not any smaller than the other- but the flowers were a tad bit more bunched together and turned the slightest bit pink as they aged. White spike is a nice change in flower color- with a bit more minty flavor to the leaf-
I hope to try the apricot blooming one some day....

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 6:01PM
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abgardeneer(Z3, Calgary)

Well, I'm sitting here with a bowl of dried A. pringlei flower stalk (all the leaves are long gone) on one side of me, and a bowl of A. foeniculum flower stalk on the other side...and thinking about how to describe the differences in aroma! They are definitely different.

Yes, A. pringlei is just as strongly aromatic (actually more so, in these dried samples), but with a more lavender-like fragrance, and mostly lacking the suggestion of anise that I get from the foeniculum. Yet not exactly like lavender (L. angustifolium) I sniff away at a handful of that too...

Well, words fail me... (Maybe I should pull out a wine magazine and peruse the descriptive range of scents and flavors...venturing far off topic, sorry, but it never ceases to amaze me the vast range of sensations those wine critics glean from an $8 bottle of plonk - kind of makes one wonder why they'd ever waste money on the more expensive ones, LOL!)

Rick, in the article you attached, it's the flavor of A. pringlei that the author rates as "good" - apparently, he uses the leaves and/or flowers in salads. Hmm, never thought of that...


    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 10:26PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

I agree Lori, the discriptive verbage is astounding in the wine listings!
I also agree that the subtle and distinct aromas from Agastanche is diverse and complex, and throughout it's growth cycle- it changes! Like Perilla- when seeds are set- the leaves are completly different tasting!
To eat the leaves of any edible plant growing in my yard- whether in tea (try fresh in sun tea- or brew fresh herb tea- just remember to keep all the steam in while brewing) to salads to soups to casseroles to pizza to roasting/grilling fish or chicken or fruit- is an easy task to determine what will work as I have an idea of what I want the dish to taste like and run around the yard with the scissors snipping away.... A favorite of mine is the Oregano blossoms! They are small and pink and have a burgundy calyx and a very light flavour, but add great visual interest to your meal!
But- I digress- if you come to the seed swap- you can smell the difference of the hyssop seeds for yourself- at least of the ones I am bringing!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 9:31AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Actually Lori, you've helped a lot with my aroma question. Thanks. And I do remember "Flavor" instead of "Aroma" in that chart. Oops, but oh well. This is an avenue of thought I haven't paid much attention to, other than the obvious-mints in Mentha, licorice in Agastache, maple in Gnaphalium, wintergreen in Betula lenta... While I find myself seeing with my eyes and noticing so many things others don't, I think I am probably missing other subtleties equally worthy of observation.

Anyone else have thoughts on Agastache species?

And Julie, an interesting note on tea brewing with the steam. My logic oriented mind can't seem to grasp any empirical reasoning for the outcome. For so many kinds of oils having such a narrow temperature range of volitility, seems unlikely. There is something I am not considering, because coming from you, I don't doubt the veracity. And this tea thing calls for another thread . . .

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 6:12PM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

I agree with you, Rick, I like the smell and/or fragrance of anything that smells like black licorice, but I cannot eat black licorice. Yuck!

I have found that I need to dead-head Agastache foeniculum very early so the plant doesn't drop seed everywhere. I was a little late this year in getting that job done so I am sure I will be pulling a ton of seedlings next spring. I do use shredded cypress mulch and the mulch has not had any effect on suppressing seedlings of Agastache foeniculum. The seedlings are very easy to remove, so it's not a big deal.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 5:34PM
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