Star Anise is an essential ingredient of Five Spice. It is also used to produce Pernod, Galliano, Sambucca, cough mixtures and played a huge part in production of Tamiflu. Star anise contains anethol which gives it the anise flavour.
It grows on medium sized evergreen trees in China and Vietnam. Small white, pink and purple flowers turn into the fruit (star shaped seed pods) which are harvested just before ripening and sun dried.