Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant species in the carrot family.It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio are a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.
Fennel is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the mouse mat and the anise swallowtail
The word “fennel” developed from the Middle English final or final. This came from the Old English final or finol, which in turn came from the Latin feniculum orfoeniculum, the diminutive of venom or faenum, meaning “hay”. The Latin word for the plant was Ferula, which is now used as the genus name of a related plant.
As Old English final, fennel is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century.
The Greek name for fennel is a marathon (μάραθον) or marathos (μάραθος), And the place of the famous battle of Marathon (whence Marathon, the subsequent sports event), literally means a plain with fennels. The word is first attested in the Mycenaean Linear B form as a-Ra-tu-woo.
The name Funchal was given to their new town by the first settlers on Madeira, Madeira, due to the abundance of wild fennel, from the Portuguese word fiance(fennel) and the suffix -al.
- From Wikipedia