I just pulled a bunch of fennel, but I see taproots, not bulbs

gribbletonNovember 24, 2012

The roots all look like the picture in the link below.

They are definitely fennel plants - they have yellow flowers, the seeds taste like licorice/sweet, and the leaves look like fennel leaves.

Can I use the roots still for soup or something?

I'm disappointed to learn that I don't have the bulb variety!

Here is a link that might be useful: http://frenchcountrychallenge.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a8e62b5a970b0134892bed34970c-800wi

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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

Not sure what you've got there, but the edible part of sweet fennel/bulb fennel grows above ground, it is just the swollen lower part of the leaf ribs, kind of like a celery with a big butt. Maybe you ended up with the non-bulbing variety grown for the leaves and seeds?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 11:58PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sure doesn't look like fennel. Was it planted from seed or with transplants? Maybe mis-labeled transplants?

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Fennel pics

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 11:46AM
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gribbleton

The picture is from what someone pulled out of their garden - those roots are both from fennel and from parsnips, the person posted them because of their striking similarity.

From what I gather there is a type of fennel that bulbs and is commonly used in cooking, this is called 'Florence Fennel' and is common in grocery stores.

The other fennel can be wild or Bronze Fennel and it doesn't have a bulb, instead is has a taproot.

The taproot tastes like fennel would but when I put it in the blender for a smoothie you can tell it's a little fibrous.

I am 100% sure this is fennel. If you do a google search for fennel my plant looks exactly like it. My plants are all from seed, and I collect the seeds to use in bread etc. They taste like fennel seeds and look exactly the same. I am pretty sure this plant came from somewhere like a nursery, or a plant that came from the nursery - I think it is wild fennel.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 1:45PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

There are two (maybe more) types of fennel.

One is grown for the white, bulblike base of the stalks and is used as a vegetable, either cooked or sliced thinly as a salad ingredient. This is Florence fennel or finochio.

The other is grown as an herb. The seeds (and I think the leaves) are used as a flavoring. It does not produce the bulblike base.

Both types have a flavor like anise.

Jim

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:21PM
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gribbleton

Yeah, that's sad, I pulled all the roots but theyre of not much use!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 10:02PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Pity you pulled the roots. Fennel is perennial and you could have been picking it for years to use as a herb. Florence Fennel is not a root vegetable. You don't need to dig or pull it. The 'bulb' is above ground and is just the enlarged bases of the leaves as visible in digdirt's link.

Regarding the picture you posted of the roots. If some of those are meant to be parsnips they are a pretty sad looking crop. There shouldn't be a 'striking similarity' if the parsnips are well grown. Parsnip roots should be much larger than fennel roots and not at all confusable except maybe in colour.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:31AM
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gribbleton

Ah I see. Yeah that's ok there's still some fennel left and I'm sure more will sprout.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 10:24AM
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glib(5.5)

As an herb, you can use the roots, the leaves and young stalks, the seeds, and the flowers. I use the frozen leaves and young stalks to flavor my chickens, and the ground seeds in omelets and other heavier food.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:45PM
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PunkRotten(9b)

If you were to cut the Fennal at ground level and leave the roots in the ground, what are the chances the Fennel will start growing again and produce a bulbous base?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:15AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

The probability of getting a bulbous base from the type of fennel which does not produce a bulbous base is zero. You need the other type of fennel for that.

Jim

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:20AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Deleted duplicate post.

This post was edited by jimster on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 20:05

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:44PM
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CaraRose

If Florence fennel bolts before it bulbs (thickens at the base) it will just stay leggy and not form a bulb. I've given up on the regular Florence fennel. Both this year and last year they bolted immediately after the weather started to get hot.

I did have some luck this year with the Orion fennel hybrid and got a small bulb out of that. I'm planning on trying both Orion and Zefa Fino next year, and trying to start indoors in peat pots so I can get them out as early as possible.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:49AM
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