The two basic types of fennel, common fennel and Florence fennel, bear a close resemblance to one another but are used differently. The shoots, leaves, and seeds (called “fruit”) of the common fennel are used primarily as flavoring agents for food. Several varieties of common fennel have seeds that differ in length, width, and taste. These include the sweet variety, also known as French or Roman fennel, characterized by long, yellowish green fruit with a sweet flavor; Indian fennel, which is brownish, smaller, and less
rounded; and the pale-green Persian and Japanese varieties, which are the smallest
and have a stronger anise flavor and odor. Florence fennel, also called finocchio, is somewhat smaller than common fennel and is grown mainly for its broad, bulbous leaf base, which is eaten as a vegetable.
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