Star anise (Illcium verum) is the star shaped fruit of a small evergreen tree native to southwest China. Star anise has multiple culinary uses in the cuisines of India, China, Vietnam and Malaysia, where it lends a strong, black licorice note to everything from pho to chai tea to garam masala.
Star anise has seen more usage lately in the cocktail world as a substitute for the more expensive anise root. It takes infusion well, though anise flavors are not popular in the wider market yet. Star anise can also be used as a cocktail garnish, though it is not edible.