Liquorice Root Beadlets
Liquorice or licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a somewhat sweet flavour can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a legume (related to beans and peas) that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is called "Mulaithi" in Northern India. It is not related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are the sources of similar-tasting flavouring compounds.
It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 715 centimetres (36 in) long, with 917 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8 1.2 cm long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2 centimetres (1 in) long, containing several seeds.
The flavor of liquorice comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole ("trans"-1-methoxy-4-(prop-1-enyl)benzene), an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in anise, fennel, and several other herbs. Much of the sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound sweeter than sugar.