Chefs enjoy fennel for the faint licorice flavor it brings to dishes. There are two types of fennel. Common fennel has shoots, leaves, and seeds that add flavor to seafood, soups, and salads. Florence fennel, or sweet fennel, has a thickened bulb at the base of its stems that is served roasted or eaten raw.
Fennel grows best in cool weather, and like most vegetables, it requires plenty of sun and water. It takes about three months before plants are ready to harvest.
Fennel can also be grown as an ornamental. Its feathery foliage provides nice contrast to broad-leaved plants. It also serves as a host plant for the caterpillars of black swallowtail butterflies.