Hyssop is a semievergreen shrub that grows one to two feet high, producing narrow leaves and clusters of double-lipped flowers. Depending on the species, the flowers range in colour from white to purple, pink, blue, or bluish-purple. Native to southern Europe, hyssop grows freely in the Mediterranean countries, especially the Balkans and Turkey.
The narrow, dark green leaves of hyssop have a minty aroma and a strong, bitter taste that is penetrating and persistent. The small purple-blue flowers occasionally appearing in pink or white. The white have the same flavor but are somewhat milder.
The American plant called anise hyssop, Agastache fornieulu, is botanically unrelated to hyssop. Its pointed leaves and purple flowers smell and taste of anise and produce a flavorful tisane. They may be used fresh or dried in place of anise seed in any recipe.