According to documentation, only the seeds of Illicium verum can be used as a spice. All other species, including Illicium floridanum, should be considered highly toxic if ingested. The essential oils of many species are enjoyed, but the oils of Illicium floridium are toxic.
Star Flower Scorpio Illicium Anise
Illicium hybrid ‘NCIH1’ PP#29,939
In Latin, the name of this shrub literally means “alluring”. The Illicium is a bit of an international traveler, with native species found all over—from eastern Asia, all the way to several parts of North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Illicium is an understory shrub adapted to a shady habitat and thrives in moist growing conditions.
Illicium has several varieties, including Illicium floridanum, which First Editions has developed to bring us ‘Scorpio’ Illicium. A shade lover happy in moist growing conditions, ‘Scorpio’ is an Illicium shrub like ‘Orion’ developed by Tom Ranney at the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab of North Carolina State University. ‘Scorpio’ is a cross between I. floridanum and I. mexicanum, and has solid green leaves and large, red blooms twice a year. Similar to ‘Orion’, ‘Scorpio’ blooms first April through May, with a second bloom occurring from September to November, with some intermittent bloom in between. Illicium grows best in shade with protection from afternoon sun in moist, well-drained soil. ‘Scorpio’ has leaves and flowers with an anise scent and star-shaped unique seed pods. Plant ‘Scorpio’ Illicium in a shady spot with dwarf azalea like ‘Gumpo’, edged with ‘Fire Island’ hosta, fern or carex grass for a glorious shade garden!