Illicium anisatum L.

Last updated: 22 June 2015

Scientific Name

Illicium anisatum L.


Illicium religiosum Siebold & Zucc. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bakau bukit [2]
English Japanese star anise, star anise [2][3], sacred anise tree [4]
China Mang tsao [2], pa chio hui hsiang, shu mang [4]
Indonesia Adas jepang, adas cina [3]
Philippines Sanke, sanki (Tagalog) [2][3]
Japan Makko-iku (Okinawa); shikimi [4]
France Anis du Japon [3]

Geographical Distributions

Illicium anisatum occurs wild and it is also cultivated in Japan, Southern China and Taiwan. It was introduced into Japan a long time ago by Buddhist priests. It does not occur naturally in Southeast Asia. In natural habitat, I. anisatum is found in moist evergreen broad-leaved forest at 1000-2500 m altitudes. [3]

Botanical Description

I. anisatum is a member of the family Illiciaceae. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that can reach up to 8 m tall. The wood and leaves are highly aromatic. [3]

The leaves are arranged alternately, simple, narrowly ovate to lance-shaped, measuring 4-12 cm x 1.5-5 cm, wedge-shaped at the base, tapering, blunt at the apex, entire and coriaceous. The petiole is 0.7-2 cm long. The stipules are absent. [3]

The flowers are an axillary, sometimes solitary, usually crowded, bisexual, regular, measuring 2.5-3 cm in diametre, with perianth lobes are 12-15(-30), arranged spirally, slender, acute, measure 3 mm wide and pale yellow to white. The pedicel is 0.5-1.5 cm long. The stamens are (16-)18-20(-25) and arranged spirally. The carpels are 7-9(-10) and arranged in a single row. [3]

The fruit is a capsule-like follicetum, measuring 2.5-3 cm in diametre, consisting of an aggregate of 7-8 follicles and arranged around a central axis in the shape of a star. Each follicle is boat-shaped and 1-seeded. [3]

The seed is obovate-ellipsoid, measures 6-7 mm long, smooth, glossy, yellowish and contains copious endosperm. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

No documentation.

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of I. anisatum [3]


  1. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network-(GRIN). Illicium anisatum L. [homepage on the Internet]. Beltsville, Maryland: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory; c2013 [updated 2005 Sep 12; cited 2015 Jul 07]. Available from:
  2.  Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p. 52.
  3.  Dasuki UA. Illicium anisatum L. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; 2001. p. 303-306.  
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 553.