Illicium parviflorum or Badianifera parviflora

Illicium parviflorum

Illicium parviflorum or Badianifera parviflora: The Fragrant Yellow Anisetree

Illicium parviflorum, commonly known as Yellow Anisetree, swamp star anise, or small anise tree, is a small, evergreen shrub or tree native to Florida in the United States. This plant was described as Illicium parviflorum in 1799, later Cymbostemon parviflorus in 1838, and more recently Badianifera parviflora in 1891. Originally belonging to the Illiciaceae family now it is categorized under the Schisandraceae family. This hardy plant is highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of conditions. With its aromatic flowers and attractive foliage, Illicium parviflorum is a delightful addition to gardens and landscapes.


Illicium parviflorum or Badianifera parviflora features an upright and pyramidal habit, reaching a height of 15-20 feet. The foliage of this shrub is olive-green, providing a unique color among broadleaf evergreens. In the spring, the plant produces small, yellow-green flowers with 6-12 petals. These flowers have a licorice-like scent, adding a delightful fragrance to the garden. Following the flowers, star-shaped clusters of non-edible fruits, approximately 1 inch in diameter, appear. These fruits are visually appealing and attract birds to the garden.

Cultivation of Illicium parviflorum:

Illicium parviflorum is a relatively low-maintenance plant that thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial shade. However, it can tolerate a range of conditions, including full sun, with the provision of sufficient water. The following subsections provide guidelines for successfully cultivating Illicium parviflorum:

Sunlight: Illicium parviflorum prefers partial shade, although it can tolerate full sun. In areas with intense sunlight, providing some shade during the hottest hours of the day will help protect the plant.

Watering: Regular watering is essential, especially during the first year after planting. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist, but avoid overwatering to prevent waterlogging. In full sun conditions, additional watering may be necessary to compensate for increased evaporation.

Soil: Illicium parviflorum thrives in moist, well-drained soil. It adapts well to various soil types and can tolerate both acidic and alkaline conditions. Adding organic matter to the soil improves its moisture retention and fertility.

Pest and Disease: Illicium parviflorum is relatively pest and disease-free. However, regular monitoring is recommended to identify and address any potential issues promptly. Proper cultural practices, such as maintaining good airflow and removing fallen debris, help prevent common diseases.

Propagation: Illicium parviflorum can be propagated through cuttings. Softwood cuttings taken in spring or early summer can be easily rooted. Commercial sources also offer readily available plants for purchase.

Additional Care Tips:

  • Apply a balanced fertilizer once a year in spring to promote healthy growth.
  • Mulch around the plant to conserve soil moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Prune in the spring to remove any dead or damaged branches.
  • Provide protection from cold weather in colder climates to prevent frost damage.

Illicium parviflorum is a versatile shrub that serves various landscape purposes, such as foundation plantings, shrub borders, woodland gardens, screening, and hedges. Its adaptability and charming fragrance make it a standout choice for gardeners seeking an eye-catching and aromatic addition to their outdoor spaces.

Badianifera parviflora or Illicium parviflorum
Badianifera parviflora or Illicium parviflorum
Badianifera parviflora or Illicium parviflorum
Flowers of Illicium parviflorum or Badianifera parviflora

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