This interesting genus originates from the temperate to subtropical regions of East Asia and the Americas. It contains about 40 frost-hardy evergreen shrubs and small trees, grown for their handsome foliage and fragrant flowers. In older publications you may see the Illicium genus placed in the Magnoliaceae family. This is no longer correct as they are now placed in their own family Illiciaceae.
Star-anise (I. verum) from China and Vietnam is the source of a culinary spice and reportedly has medicinal uses. Illicium verum has a foliage and stems with a delightful anise odor that reminds of root beer with hints of licorice. The other species are toxic and are not a substitute for the culinary spice and flavorings obtained from Illicium verum, although they also have pleasant anise smell. Prefers partial shade or partial sun; soil should be moist.
See article about Illicium verum - Star Anise