Though fennel is technically classified as an herb, certain varieties have a large bulbous stem base that can be used as a vegetable. Fennel is incredibly aromatic and flavorful, and has both culinary and medicinal uses. The plant is thought to have originated on the shores of the Mediterranean, though it now grows wild all around the world.
Fennel gets its anise-like flavor from the aromatic compound anethole which also gives it its medicinal value. Fennel has been used in many cultures to aid eyesight, increase breast-milk production among breast-feeding mothers, and promote digestive health. You can enjoy fennel leaves as leafy greens for a salad or cook them for a warm dish.