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Sale Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine' (yellow anise tree)

Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine' (yellow anise tree)

Next available Monday or Tuesday

Unavailable Available Only few left Out of Stock Pre-order
Evergreen shrub

You must have Florida Sunshine yellow anise-tree to brighten up your winter garden. The yellow leaves glow and pulsate with sunny cheer that's especially welcome during gray days and in grayed-out garden areas, but the yellow glow is a real mood-lifter 365 days a year. 

Illicium parviflorum (small anise-tree) is the quintessential native understory evergreen, requiring afternoon shade at least, but with Florida Sunshine afternoon shade is even more important or the yellow leaves bleach out a bit (when bleached, they still read yellow in a garden setting, they just aren't up to snuff for flower arrangements).

The young growth can look more chartreuse in certain lights, especially in early spring or when grown in deep shade. Finding the right balance of sun/shade is important because some direct sunlight turns the leaves of Florida Sunshine more yellow.

Small anise-tree likes moist soils, but is more drought tolerant than Illicium floridanum (Florida anise tree). It's great for a shadowy, wet corner of your garden.

We think Florida Sunshine is slower growing than the common green-leaved type, but it's fast enough for our 1-gallon plants (true 1-gallons, not the smaller trade gallons) to make a statement after a couple more growing seasons.

I was aggressive with the pruners last spring to fix a Florida Sunshine that had been half-smushed by a fallen tree. I pruned it back on one side to balance out where it was damaged on the other side. The whole plant grew back 3' or more last summer (a summer with lots of rainfall) and it looks better than ever. Moral is that Florida Sunshine responds well to pruning, especially if given extra water to help it recover.

Common name is typically "small anise-tree" but customers are asking for "yellow anise tree" so we're calling it that too.

Florida Sunshine grows 6-8' tall by 6-8' wide. BananAppeal is another option if you want a smaller version at 3-4' tall by 3-4' wide.

  • winter interest (bright leaf color)
  • evergreen screening shrub
  • deer resistant
  • large screening shrub
  • spreads by suckers and densely colonizes an area
  • great for planting in low-lying wet areas in the shade
  • heat tolerant
  • fragrant leaves
  • deer resistant
Common Name
Ocala yellow-star
Other Names
small anise-tree
USDA Hardiness Zones
Growth Rate
Flower Color
Showy Flower?
Flower Season
Leaf Colors
  • Winter: yellow
  • Spring: yellow
  • Summer: yellow
  • Fall: yellow
Fall Leaf Color Quality
evergreen and maintains pretty color in the cold
Native to USA?
Native To
Georgia, Florida
Soil Moisture Requirements
moist, wet
Soil pH Requirements
acid to neutral
Light Requirements
full shade, morning sun only
To Make It Thrive
Give Illicium parviflorum Florida Sunshine plenty of water and shade (not the sunshine the name might imply!).
Plant Patent
Do the flowers have an odor?

Are the seeds edible?
No, this is not star anise, the spice, but it's related.

Do the leaves have a scent?
Yes, they smell like anise when crushed.

Is this the plant that was written about in the March 2018 issue of Carolina Gardener?
Yes, this is the same Florida Sunshine small anise-tree written about in that issue. We were elated to see it there!

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