Anise is a traditional Christmas spice but is also very popular for baking and use in spirits and liqueurs such as sambuca, raki, ouzo and absinthe. Anis has a licorice-like flavor.
The spice grows best in temperate climates, and southern Russia is the main growing area. Originally anise comes from Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean.
see Anne Iburg "Dumont little spice encyclopedia", Eggolsheim, Dörfler Verlag GmbH