In order to identify natural products for plant disease control, the essential oil of star anise (Illicium verum Hook. f.) fruit was investigated for its antifungal activity on plant pathogenic fungi. The fruit essential oil obtained by hydro-distillation was analyzed for its chemical composition by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). trans-Anethole (89.5%), 2-(1-cyclopentenyl)-furan (0.9%) and cis-anethole (0.7%) were found to be the main components among 22 identified compounds, which accounted for 94.6% of the total oil. The antifungal activity of the oil and its main component trans-anethole against plant pathogenic fungi were determined. Both the essential oil and trans-anethole exhibited strong inhibitory effect against all test fungi indicating that most of the observed antifungal properties was due to the presence of trans-anethole in the oil, which could be developed as natural fungicides for plant disease control in fruit and vegetable preservation.