Aniseed myrtle

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Aniseed myrtle

Syzygium anisatum (formerly Backhousia anisata and Anetholea anisata), ringwood or aniseed tree is a rare Australian rainforest tree with an aromatic leaf that has an essential oil profile comparable to true aniseed. The leaf from cultivated plantations is used as a bushfood spice and distilled for the essential oil, and is known in the trade as aniseed myrtle or anise myrtle.

The ringwood tree has a dense crown and grows up to 45 metres. The leaves are 6-12 cm long with prominently wavey margins and aniseed aroma. Flowers are white and sweetly scented, borne in panicles. The fruit are dry papery capsules 5 mm long.

Ringwood's natural distribution in the wild is restricted to the Nambucca and Bellinger Valleys in the subtropics of Eastern Australia.

Uses

Used as a flavouring spice and herb tea ingredient.

Although previously known, it was first sold in the early 1990s as a bushfood spice, and in the mid 1990s cultivated in plantations to meet demand.

The essential oil of S.anisatum contains anethole and methyl chavicol, imparting aniseed and licorice flavours respectively.

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