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This shrubby perennial that bears bluish-purple flowers in summer is a member of the legume family. A native of the Mediterranean, it grows well in hot, dry areas. The roots are the edible portion of the plant, producing flavoring for candies and a sweetener that quenches thirst. Dried roots are sometimes used as chew sticks. The plant spreads by rhizomes, so it can be easily divided to start new plants. It is not related to the ornamental annual called licorice plant (Helichrysum).
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