Anise is a plant that produces seeds that smell and taste like black licorice. Cookies, vegetables, and liqueurs can all be flavored with anise.
The anise plant produces white flowers and small fruits or seeds. It's the seeds that are used, whole or ground, to flavor various foods — in fact, anise is often referred to as aniseed. Anise itself is an Old English word, from the 13th century Old French anis and ultimately the Greek root anison, which confusingly means both anise and "dill."