Anise seeds are small, grayish-brown, and come from a different plant than those of star anise. Anise seed is native to the temperate climates of the Middle East, Africa, and Greece. The anise seed tastes similar to fennel, with a distinctly licorice flavor. It is commonly used in meat and seafood dishes from the region, as well as in liqueurs and some baked breads and pastries.
Spice Fun Fact: At the end of feasts, the ancient Romans consumed spice cakes made with anise seed, as they believed their properties to aid in digestion.