Sweetgrass: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on sweetgrass

Hierochloe odorata is a very hardy perennial of the Poaceae family.

Sweetgrass, as it is commonly known, has leaves that do not have rigid stems; therefore their height stays at around 8 inches. The leaves grow outward horizontally about 3 1/4 feet or even more by late in the summer. The leaves are without hairs. The underside too is hairless and also shiny. Just below the soil surface the bases of the leaves are broad and white. Though in the wild, the bases of the leaves are frequently purple-red colored; this indicates a phosphorus-deficient soil.

common names & nomenclature
The name Hierochloe odorata is from the Greek. Its literal meaning being "holy fragrant grass".

Also known as:
sweetgrass, manna grass, holy grass, mary’s grass and vanilla grass, seneca grass, bison grass, anthoxanthum nitens

Sweetgrass, vanilla flavor and scented
Sweetgrass: Where in the World
habitat and range for sweetgrass

Hierochloe odorata is an aromatic herb native to northern Eurasia and North America.

Sweetgrass: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting sweetgrass

Sweetgrass grows on wet banks in cool to temperate climates. Since the plant has an aggressive root system it can help stabilize banks.

Prefers a damp position in a rich soil. However sweetgrass succeeds in most soils, including considerably drier conditions.

Sweetgrass is easily grown by dividing the plants in spring or summer. Divisions can be planted in the desired garden location. Sweetgrass will have mixed results if grown by seed. germination in 2 weeks has been reported, with more difficult or longer germination by other accounts also resulting in weak-rooted plants.

Sweetgrass leaves are harvested in the summer. There are several varieties of sweetgrass: there is a regular strain that can be harvested once or twice a year; and a naturally occurring polyploid strain, which can be harvested up to five times a year, since it is much faster growing. The grass is cut and usually braided to dry.

Store dried sweetgrass in a cool, dry location.