“Sweet anise” can be a confusing term, because it is used to describe two different types of plants used in cooking — plants with a similar taste but a different appearance. The term is most commonly used to describe the bulb and fronds of the fennel plant, although it also is sometimes used to describe dishes that are sweet and contain the seeds of the anise plant, as is the case with dishes such as sweet anise bread. It is easy to tell fennel from anise because the anise plant is cultivated exclusively for the seeds it produces, while the fennel plant is generally sold as fronds and stalks attached to a large white bulb at the base. The flavors of the two versions of sweet anise are similar, both having a strong licorice taste, although fennel is considered to be sweeter and lighter. Neither fennel nor anise should be confused with star anise, which is a seed pod that grows on an evergreen tree and is unrelated except, again, in taste.