The Pacific states, and scattered areas of the southern states (non-native)
Disturbed ground, fields, riverbanks, roadsides, especially in coastal areas
Finely divided into pointed, linear segments, each up to 1.5 inches long
Foeniculum vulgare is an imported species, originating in Europe. The plant (especially the fruit and leaves) has a long history of use, in medicine and cooking. Plants produce many upright, branched stems, up to six feet tall, with distinctive feathery leaves along the lower half; they are pinnately divided three or four times into threadlike lobes. Stems are hollow but rigid, hairless, and grey-green in color (glaucous).
The inflorescence is a compound umbel, lacking both bracts and bractlets, and containing between 15 and 40 rays which are unequal in length, varying between about 0.5 and 2 inches. Each ray holds between 18 and 25 flowers. Individual flowers have five yellow petals, often curved inwards, around a domed yellow pistil and five protruding yellow stamens. Fruits are ovate in shape, and ribbed; initially greyish green like the stems, becoming hard and brown as they dry out.