Florence fennel is an aromatic biennial with soft, feathery, almost hair-like foliage. The lacy, finely dissected leaves have swollen petioles (leaf stems) that clasp the main stalk to form an edible structure that is what is commonly referred to incorrectly as the bulb. The plant grows to about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall in its first growing season. In the second season, Florence fennel produces flowering stems that stand a foot or so taller and support showy flat-topped umbels of little golden flowers. (An umbel is an umbrella shaped cluster of flowers in which the individual flower pedicels (flower stalks) radiate from a common point on the main stalk.) Fennel has an elongated root that resembles a carrot. All parts of Florence fennel have a sweet, licorice fragrance reminiscent of anise, tarragon and chervil. There are several named cultivars available. 'Rubrum' has bronze colored foliage; 'Romy' is an old Italian heirloom that is still popular; 'Zefo Fino', which is slow to bolt and forms a large, particularly sweet bulb, is one of the most popular cultivars in Europe, and now readily available in the US.
616 Foeniculum vulgare - mobile.floridata.com, http://mobile.floridata.com/Plants/Apiaceae/Foeniculum%20vulgare/616 (accessed January 27, 2017).