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Useful Temperate Plants

Anthoxanthum odoratum

L.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Anthoxanthum asperum W.Mann ex Opiz

Anthoxanthum maderense H.Teppner

Anthoxanthum nebrodense Lojac.

Anthoxanthum ovatum montanum Asch. & Graebn.

Anthoxanthum ovatum strictum Asch. & Graebn.

Anthoxanthum ovatum tenerum Asch. & Graebn.

Anthoxanthum pauciflorum Adamovic

Anthoxanthum pilosum Döll

Anthoxanthum sommierianum Ricci

Anthoxanthum villosum (Loisel.) Tinant.

Phalaris ciliata Pourr.

Xanthonanthos odoratus (L.) St.-Lag.

Common Name: Sweet Vernal Grass

Anthoxanthum odoratum
Flowering plant
Photograph by: Harry Rose
Creative Commons License
Anthoxanthum odoratum Anthoxanthum odoratum Anthoxanthum odoratum Anthoxanthum odoratum

General Information

Anthoxanthum odoratum is a perennial, clump-forming grass with erect stems 10 - 75cm tall, exceptionally to 100cm.
Sweet vernal grass is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, food and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
The plant has spread as a weed to many parts of the globe. It forms an extensive ground cover in open mesic and dry habitats at moderate to high elevations in the tropics, where it invades disturbed areas, preventing the reestablishment of native species. It is considered to be invasive in many countries, including New Zealand, Chile, Australia and Hawaii[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].

Known Hazards

The plant contains coumarins, this is what gives it the scent of newly mown hay. When used internally, especially from dried plants, it can act to prevent the blood from co-aggulating[
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
].
This is one of the earliest grasses to flower in the year, it produces a lot of pollen and is a major irritant to people who suffer from hay fever[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Botanical References

17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.

Range

Most of Europe, from the Atlantic, through northern and central Asia to the Caucasus. Kazakhstan and Mongolia; N. Africa - Morocco to Algeria.

Habitat

Meadows, woodland margins, heaths and moors on acid and basic soils[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.45 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in most soils, especially acid ones, growing best on drier soils but tolerating wet conditions[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
]. Plants are often found on nutrient-poor soils, especially when phosphorus is deficient[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
]. Dislikes shade. Established plants are drought tolerant[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
].
This is one of the earliest grasses to flower in the year, it produces a lot of pollen and is a major irritant to people who suffer from hay fever[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].
The dried plant releases a strong and persistent fragrance with a refreshing pungent smell that is difficult to describe but is somewhat like newly-mown hay[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].

Edible Uses

Seed[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. The seed is very small and its use would be fiddly[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. A sweet pleasant fragrance[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Some caution is advised, see notes at top of the page.

Medicinal

The whole plant, and especially the flowering stems, is anticoagulant, antispasmodic and stimulant[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
,
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
]. It is normally only applied externally, where it is used in the treatment of rheumatic pain, chilblains, nervous insomnia etc[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
].
It is said that a tincture made from this grass with spirit of wine is an effective and immediate cure for hay fever[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

The aromatic leaves and dried flowers are used as a strewing herb, they are also woven into baskets[
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
,
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
] and used in pot-pourri[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The plant contains coumarin - this is used medicinally and also in rat poisons where it prevents the blood from co-aggulating and thus means that the slightest cut can kill the rat[
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ, only just covering the seed. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
].
Division in spring. Very easy, it can be done successfully at almost any time of the year, though it is best to pot up the divisions in a cold frame if you are doing it outside the growing season.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2024-04-24. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Anthoxanthum+odoratum>

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