This post is inspired by my using star anise in tonight’s supper. Star anise is in a small, obscure botanical family, Schisandraceae. Then there is regular anise, in the carrot family, along with another licorice-flavored herb, fennel. Then there is the actual licorice, in the legume family. In the daisy family is another licorice-flavored herb, tarragon. That is four disparate families in which individual species have hit upon the same aromatic formula. I find that intriguing.
Stranger still is that tarragon’s relatives are wormwoods and sagebrushes, with entirely different aromatic compounds.
Another thing I find intriguing: I like licorice-flavored herbs, but I despise licorice candy.