Perfect, whole Star Anise are a beautiful wonder of nature. Each of the eight points contains a single glossy seed, and its gorgeous flower shape makes a dramatic presentation when floated in tea or soup. Selecting each star by hand does make them more expensive; for nearly all culinary uses where the appearance of the anise isn't important we recommend the broken or powdered star anise as a cheaper way to achieve the same flavor. Star anise is also known as Chinese anise and features the same three essential oils as the botanically-unrelated anise seed. The flavor of Star Anise is noticeably more intense than the anise seed and is used primarily for Chinese cooking, although in the 1700's European cooking also called for star anise in fruit jams and syrup recipes.