Fennel seeds are used whole or ground. In Europe fennel is most commonly used to bake bread or make tea. Fennel seed is an important part of the five-spice mixture and is used in China for vegetable and meat dishes.
Fennel is a grown in the Mediterranean and grows best in moderately dry heat.
see Anne Iburg "Dumont little spice encyclopedia", Eggolsheim, Dörfler Verlag GmbH