LICORICE (ylycyrrhiza), a genus of perennial plants of the natural order leguminovc, sub-order papilionaceie; having long, pliant, sweet roots, and generally creeping root-stocks; pinnate leaves of many leaflets, and terminating in an odd one; flowers in spikes, racemes, or heads; a 5-cleft, 2-lipped calyx, and a 2-leaved keel. The ancient Greek name, now the botanical name, signifies sweet root, and from it, by cor ruption, licorice and other modern names are derived. The roots of licorice depend for their valuable properties on a substance called glycyrrlazine, allied to sugar, yellow, transparent, uncrystallizable, soluble both in water and alcohol, and forming compounds both with acids and bases. They are a well-known article of materia medrca, and were used by the ancients as in modern times, being emollient, demulcent, very useful in catarrh and irritations of the mucous membrane.—The roots of the CO3IMON LICORICE glabra) are chiefly in use in Europe. The plant has stems 3 to 4 ft. high, and racemes of whitish violet-colored flowers. It is a native of the South of Europe and of many parts of Asia, as far as China. It is cultivated in many countries of Europe, chiefly in Spain, and to some extent in the south of England, where its cultivation is at ;east as old as the times of Elizabeth. The roots are extensively employed by porter
brewers. They are not imported into Britain in considerable quantity, but the black inspissated extract of them (black sugar or stick licorice) is largely imported from the s. of Europe, in rolls or sticks, packed in bay-leaves, or in boxes of about two cwts., into which it has been run. Licorice is propagated by slips; and after a plantation has been made, almost three years must elapse before the roots can be (Jigged up for use. The whole roots are then taken up. Licorice requires a deep, rich, loose soil, well trenched and manured; the roots penetrating to the depth of more than a yard, and straight tap-roots being most esteemed. The old stems are cleared off at the end of each season, and the root stocks so cut away as to prevent overgrowth above ground next year. The plant is propagated by cuttings of the roots of the PRICKLY LICORICE (G. echinata) are used in the same way, chiefly in Italy and Sicily, Russia, and the east. The only American species is G. lep' idota, which grows in the plains of the Missouri.