Liquorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavour can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a legume, native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is not related to Anise, Star Anise or Fennel, which are the source of superficially similar flavouring compounds. It is an herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 centimetres long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 centimetres long, containing several seeds. The flavor of liquorice comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole, an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in anise, fennel, and other herbs. Additional sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizic acid, an anti-viral compound sweeter than sugar.
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