Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum; Zones 4-10). Many culinary and medicinal herbs thrive in partial or full shade. Although gardening guides continue to list anise hyssop (shown this page) as suitable for “full sun only,” this native American perennial will bloom and thrive in partial shade. Both the flowers and leaves have an intense licorice aroma and flavor. Fresh or dried, the herb makes a delicious tea that pairs well with baked goods like scones, muffins and biscotti. Dried anise hyssop leaves also can be used in place of anise seeds to flavor cookies.
Anise hyssop has a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans. The Cheyenne used anise hyssop tea to relieve depression, while the Cree and Chippewa included it in protective medicine bundles.
Leda Meredith is a botanist, writer and instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, specializing in edible and medicinal plants. She is the author of Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes (Heliotrope Books, 2008).
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