A floral umbrella
Fennel is a tall plant with feathery leaves and small yellow flowers that form an umbrella-shaped inflorescence.
It is one of the very few plants that flowers throughout summer; the first flowers appear in May and they continue blooming until the end of October.
Fennel is a native of the Mediterranean but now grows in many other areas, particularly in dry places close to the sea.
The plant and seeds are very aromatic and are used both in cooking, liquors and for medicinal purposes.
Varieties have been created in which the bottom part of the stem is swollen for use as a vegetable.
This variety of fennel is now widely grown in Malta and is available throughout most of the year except during the warmer months.
The fennel plant is known in Maltese as bużbież.
In Malta bużbież is used to add flavour to many dishes such as the traditional roast potatoes.
Fennel also has many medicinal properties. It is one of the ingredients of gripe water which was given to infants to reduce intestinal pains, flatulence and other stomach problems while fennel tea can be used to relieve indigestion in adults.