- Also called Chinese anise. a shrub or small tree, Illicium verum, of China, having white flowers that turn purple and bearing anise-scented, star-shaped clusters of carminative fruit.
- the fruit of this tree or shrub, used as a spice.
Origin of star anise
First recorded in 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for star anise
Magnified section through the thickness of a leaf of Florida Star-Anise.The Elements of Botany
The capsule assumes a screw-like form in Helicteres, and a star-like form in star-anise (Illicium anisatum).
- a small Chinese evergreen tree (Illicium verum) yielding an aromatic oil
- a spice produced from the star-shaped dried seed pods of this tree