Asafoetida is a hard resinous gum exuded from the tap root of the Ferula species of plants, a giant fennel that grows to heights of 3.6 metres. It is distinguished by its fetid smell that gives the spice its names, grayish-white when fresh, darkening with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is primarily grown in Iran, Afghanistan and India It bears fine leaves and yellow flowers. The roots are thick and pulpy and also yield a similar resin to that of the stems. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leek, onion and garlic.