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Hierochloe odorata (Sweetgrass)
Makin, Julie

Hierochloe odorata

Hierochloe odorata (L.) P. Beauv.

Sweetgrass, Vanilla Grass, Sweet Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Anthoxanthum nitens, Hierochloe fragrans, Hierochloe nashii, Hierochloe odorata var. fragrans, Holcus odoratus, Savastana nashii, Savastana odorata, Torresia odorata


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

Vanilla Grass or Sweet Grass is an erect, slender, sweet-smelling grass, usually 12-20 in. tall., with small seedheads bearing broad, bronze-colored spikelets. The grass spreads by creeping rhizomes which send up few to several leafy shoots. This is a perennial.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Gray-Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun


USA: CT , DE , MA , ME , NH , NY , RI , VT
Canada: AB , BC , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , SK
Native Distribution: Transcontinental Canada, s. to MD, KY, IA, SD, AZ & OR
Native Habitat: Moist meadows; swales; fresh or brackish shores

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds


Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

North American Native Plant Society - Etobicoke, ON

Web Reference

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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-01-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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