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Anthoxanthum nitens ssp. nitens

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About Vanilla Grass (Anthoxanthum nitens ssp. nitens) Hierochloe odorata or Anthoxanthum nitens, also known as sweet grass, buffalo grass, bison grass, holy grass (UK), manna grass, Mary's grass, seneca grass, sweetgrass, or vanilla grass, is an aromatic herb which grows in northern Eurasia and in North America. It is used in herbal medicine and in the production of distilled beverages (e.g., ubrwka, Wisent). It owes its distinctive sweet scent to the presence of coumarin. Very hardy perennial. Native to North America as well as Europe. Grows to about 60 centimeter (24 inches) in height, leaves grow 60 centimeter (24 inches) long by late summer. Bases of leaves, just below soil surface are broad and white, without hairs, underside of leaves are shiny, without hairs.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 2 ft (0.3 - 0.6 m)

Flower Color

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Wet places, meadows


Elevation ?
5256' - 5275'

Annual Precip. ?
38.7" - 39.7"

Summer Precip. ?
1.51" - 2.31"

Coldest Month ?
33.3° F - 41.0° F

Hottest Month ?
59.1° F - 59.8° F

Humidity ?
1.66 vpd - 15.28 vpd

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Hierochloe odorata

Common Names
Sweet Grass, Holy Grass, Buffalo Grass, Bison Grass

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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