Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra

mondo-del-giardino liquirizia

IDENTIFICATION of Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

Scientific name:

Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

mondo-del-giardino Glycyrrhiza glabra

Italian common name:





Endemic to the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East.


uncultivated along the roadside up to 1000 meters above sea level

Evergreen or deciduous:





Glycyrrhiza glabra L.


up to a 1m.

mondo-del-giardino licorice flower

Width (extension):

up to a 1m.


Shrubby. Suffrutix equipped with a large rhizome (underground) with juicy yellowish pulp from which flexible aerial stems with branches branch off.


Alternate pointed imparipinnate, with ovate-lanceolate leaflets, entire margin. They are sticky to the touch because there are small hairs soaked in essential oil on the underside. Rubbing them releases the typical and powerful aroma.


Spike inflorescences that develop in the axils of the leaves. Short racemes with flowers that have a purple-tinged blue-purple or white corolla.

Flowering:mondo-del-giardino Glycyrrhiza glabra

from June to July


legumes of elliptical shape and brown color


you feel if you rub the leaves.



medium lowmondo-del-giardino Glycyrrhiza glabra fruit


it feeds on phosphate fertilizers and floured manure. The magnesium intake is also important.

Light Exposure:

full sun

Soil type:

rich, calcareous and clayey

Soil acidity:

Ph 6

Italian climatic area:mondo-del-giardino Glycyrrhiza glabra seeds

It grows well in all coastal areas of our peninsula. Present above all in the central and southern regions and in Emilia Romagna. Naturalized in northeastern Italy.

Need for water:

when young it must be irrigated, but when it is adult the rains are enough if regular. It will only be watered if it has not rained for several days in the vegetative period: it is not among the plants with low water requirements.


Mushrooms are the main threat. Rust is the most dangerous.

Cultivation:mondo-del-giardino liquirizia

It can reproduce by rhizome cutting, apical cutting, division or by seeds which are not to be planted more than 2 cm in the ground at a distance of half a meter from each other.

The harvest starts from the third year of age in October and November, taking the rhizomes during the vegetative rest period. The roots must be dried at 40° and then placed in glass jars away from light and heat.


The scientific name of the genus comes from the Greek term glycys (sweet) and rhiza (root) due to its sweet roots, the specific name glabrous highlights the absence of hair.

Annotationsmondo-del-giardino liquirizia roots

It is part of the legumes.

Emollient, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antispasmodic, digestive and slightly diuretic. The typical active ingredient is glycyrrhizin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies show that licorice stimulates the antiviral defenses against some human parasitic bacteria and fungi.

Important American research has also led to the discovery of the fact that there would be an active ingredient in this plant capable of fighting breast and prostate cancer

In the East it was used to prepare the Buddha bath and in aphrodisiac recipes.

Its cultivation in soil enriches the soil with nitrogen and fights weeds.

In the kitchen:

the boiled roots are used which the confectionery industry transforms into black products, or dried and sold to be sucked. Widely used as a flavoring in desserts and soft drinks.


In 10 grams of licorice roots there is 1 gram of glycyrrhizin. This value exceeds the maximum daily intake limit which is equal to half a gram of glycyrrhizin per day.

So if you suffer from high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, kidney disease or are pregnant you should consume licorice in great moderation, or avoid its use altogether.

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Sources of the images: thanks to Andrea Moro ©Department of Life Sciences – University of Trieste, for the photo of the whole plant, for the flower, for the leaves, for the fruits and seeds, for the stem, Pixabay and many thanks to Marion Wellmann for the sweets, Susanne Hillmer for the roots and Shirley Hirst for the social photo.

mondo-del-giardino liquirizia