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Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed

Vanillagrass1 Vanillagrass2 Vanillagrass3

Hierochloe occidentalis - California Vanilla Grass

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Family Name: Poaceae

Common Names: California Vanilla Grass, California Sweet Grass, Western Sweet Grass

Origin: Native to California

Habitat: Found in the shade of redwood and coniferous forests, below 750 m.

Life Form and Duration: Perennial Herb, 30-100 cm

Comments on overall growth: Sweet smelling grass, dense, upright, with long broad leaves. Grows from creeping rhizomes.

Foliage Type: Evergreen

Foliage Description: Leaves basal to lower cauline. Blades flat, stiffly upright, 5-15 mm wide by 25-50 cm long, narrowed to base and tapers to tip, lower surface and sheath rough. Ligule (appendage at junction of leaf blade and sheath) membranous, 2-4 mm.

Infloresence Description: Panicle-like, mostly open, 7-15 cm long, lower branches drooping, whitish. Spiklets stalked, 5-6 mm. Lower 2 florets staminate, upper floret bisexual.

Flowering Season: Spring

Plant Use: Traditionally was burned by Native Americans as incense.

Other Comments: Vanilla scented