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Fennel, on the Wild Side

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In northern California, a new kind of weed is popping up through sidewalk cracks and taking over empty lots. Unlike weeds as we know them, though, this one is hardly a nuisance.

With its signature wispy fronds and yellow blossoms, wild fennel is the latest in edible weeds. Harvest it while it's still young, tender, and full of pollen, and you’ll have a new anise flavor to add to your of summer dishes. Because that's the only thing to do when life gives you free ingredients: pick them, then eat them. Now go forth and forage.

Weeds You Can Eat from Gardenista

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Comments (3)


about 1 year ago Merrie' Scriber

so I just moved to CA fromTX and found fennel has taken over my flower beds. I can't eat it all....what to do. And guess what color my new wals are...yep you guessed it, YELLOW! I think I'm in love!


about 3 years ago Panfusine

Nibbling on tender fennel fruit on the stalks!.. Still have fond memories of the roadside vendors selling them outside the school gates. The Nuns from the convent tried their best to keep us away from the 'filthy' outside food, but to little effect!


about 3 years ago dymnyno

Oh Lordy!! Fennel is hardly a new weed popping up all over California. It has been growing wild In the country for many decades. The sides of roads in Napa and Sonoma where I grew up are covered with its' yellow flowers and fragrant lacy fronds, often just beyond the reach of fenced hungry Holsteins. Mrs. Terwillinger, who was the ultimate nature guide to many generations of Marin school children always admonished them to be able to tell the difference between the yellow flowered fennel and the deadly white flowered hemlock.