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Carphephorus odoratissimus (Vanillaleaf)
Cressler, Alan

Carphephorus odoratissimus

Carphephorus odoratissimus (J.F. Gmel.) Herb.

Vanillaleaf, Vanilla Plant

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Trilisa odoratissima

USDA Symbol: CAOD3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The Vanilla Plant is a member of the aster family (family Asteraceae.) which includes herbs, sometimes shrubs or vines, rarely trees, with simple or compound, alternate or opposite leaves. Flowers small, but organized into larger heads resembling a single, radially symmetrical flower cupped by a ring of green bracts. Flower-like heads: tiny, radially symmetrical central flowers form the disc; larger flowers around the edge, the rays, strap-shaped and resembling petals; however, all flowers in one head may be disc flowers or rays. Flowers: calyx absent, or modified into hairs, bristles, scales, or a crown, which often persist atop the fruits; corolla has 5 united petals, 5 stamens; all these parts attached to top of the ovary. Leaves: simple or compound, opposite, alternate or whorled. Fruit: 1-seeded, with hard shell.In this large, worldwide family there are about 920 genera and 19,000 species. Cosmos, Sunflower, Zinnia, Dahlia, and many others are grown as ornamentals; Lettuce, Sunflowers, and Artichokes provide food. Safflower oil is obtained from this family. Ragweed pollen causes hay fever.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Research Literature

Reslit 726 - Volatile constituents of Carphephorus odoratissimus (JF Gmel) Hebert (1972) K. Karlsson, I. Wahlberg and C. R. Enzell
Reslit 1546 - Seven new combinations in the Florida flora (2001) R. P. Wunderlin and B. F. Hansen

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Carphephorus odoratissimus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Carphephorus odoratissimus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Carphephorus odoratissimus


Record Modified: 2023-01-02
Research By: TWC Staff

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