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You must have Florida Sunshine small anise-tree if you struggle with feeling gloomy in winter. 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.
Small anise-tree is the quintessential native understory evergreen, requiring afternoon shade at least, but with Florida Sunshine shade is even more important or the yellow leaves may bleach out a bit in winter. Interestingly, the leaves don't bleach out in sun in summer.
The young growth can look more chartreuse in certain lights, but it matures yellow.
Small anise-tree likes wet soils, but is more drought tolerant than Illicium floridanum. It's great for a shadowy, wet corner of your garden.
We think it's slower growing than the green-leaved species type, but it's fast enough to add impact in 2-3 years.
winter interest (bright leaf color)
evergreen screening shrub
large screening shrub
spreads by suckers and densely colonizes an area
great for planting in low-lying wet areas in the shade
USDA Hardiness Zones
Fall Leaf Color Quality
evergreen and maintains pretty color in the cold
Native to USA?
Soil Moisture Requirements
Soil pH Requirements
acid to neutral
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!).
Do the flowers have an odor? No
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!