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Aniseed myrtle (bot.: Syzygium anisatum), also called native anis or ringwood, is an Australian tree in the botanical family of Myrtaceae. It is native to the rainforest of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. It is rather rare in the rainforest but grown commercially since the 1990s to meet growing demand for its leaves. Aniseed myrtles are evergreen and may reach 45 m. In Australia its leaves are used as a Bush tucker spice. They contain an essential oil similar to that of aniseed. The white flowers, which grow in clusters, may also be used as a spice.

Aniseed myrtle is closely related to cinnamon myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia), curry myrtle (Backhousia angustifolia) and the much more commonly known lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora).

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Aniseed myrtle: Names and Synonyms

Aniseed myrtle is sometimes sold as Anisata or Anisata spice. The new and official botanical name of aniseed myrtle is Syzygium anisatum. It is not yet commonly accepted though, and the older names Backhousia anisata and Anetholea anisata are still often used.

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Culinary use of aniseed myrtle

Aniseed myrtle leaves are sold dried and ground. They have a strong taste and smell of anis, liquorice or Pernod and should be used in small amounts. In most recipes they may be used as a substitute for aniseed or star anis. This spice is used in marinades and sauces for meat and gives a great flavour to baked goods, as a herbal infusion, in dips or desserts.

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