Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed
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