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, India, and parts of Asia. It is not botanically related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are sources of similar flavouring compounds.
The word liquorice / licorice is derived from the Greek 'glukurrhiza', meaning "sweet root" - the name provided by Dioscorides. It has been traditionally known and used as medicine in Ayurveda for rejuvenation.
It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 cm (3–6 in) long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm (1/3 to 1/2 in) long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 cm (1 in) long, containing several seeds. The roots are stoloniferous.