(Pimpinella anisum), annual herb of the parsley family (Apiaceae, or Umbelliferae), cultivated chiefly for its fruits, called aniseed, the flavor of which resembles that of licorice. . Its small, yellowish white flowers form loose umbels. The fruit, or seed, is nearly ovoid in shape, about 3.5 mm (0.12 inch) long, and has five longitudinal dorsal ridges. Anise seed has a sweet, licorice-like flavor and is a slow-growing annual herb of the parsley family.