[lik-er-ish, lik-rish, lik-uh-ris]
licorice, name for a European plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family) and for the sweet substance obtained from the root. Since early times the root has been used medicinally (for coughs and as a laxative); it is used also in brewing, for confectionery, and for flavoring (e.g., in some tobacco). The licorice plant, a perennial with blue pealike blossoms, is cultivated chiefly in the Middle East. Another species, the wild licorice (G. lepidota), is native to North America; other plants of similar flavor may be called licorice. Licorice is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.

Spanish licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra).

Perennial herb (Glycyrrhiza glabra) of the pea family (see legume) and the flavouring, confection, and medicine made from its roots. Native to southern Europe, the plant is cultivated around the Mediterranean and in parts of the U.S. It grows to 3 ft (1 m) and bears graceful compound leaves, blue-violet flower clusters, and flat, flexible seedpods 3–4 in. (7–10 cm) long. It is 42 times sweeter than table sugar, and its flavour, similar to anise, can mask unpleasant medicinal tastes.

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