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Anthoxanthum Odoratum, also known as sweet vernal grass or holy grass is a perennial grass.

Image of Anthoxanthum Odoratum plant at Google

Anthoxanthum odoratum which is also known as sweet vernal grass, holy grass, vanilla grass or buffalo grass is a perennial grass that is short lived. It is grown as lawn grass and a house plant. It is found in acidic grassland in Eurasia where it grows wildly and on unimproved pastures and meadows.

It has a sweet scent. This grass has flat blade and spike like panicles. It is given its name “odoratum” as in Latin, it means, smell as well. The name Anthoxanthum is derived from the Greek, ANTHOS meaning flower and XANTHOS meaning yellow.

This grass does not prefer dry or water logged soil. This grass can grow up to a height of 100cm. The grass has yellow inflorescence. The stems can grow up to a height of 25–40 centimeters (9.8–16 in). The leaves are broad and hairy and green in color. They are 3–5 millimeters (0.12–0.20 in) wide. The flowers are in spikes which are in length of 4–6 centimeters (1.6–2.4 in). They bloom from April to June. The flowers are in crowded spikelets and in oblong shape. The seeds are bright yellow.

The scent is strong when dry. This is due to a glycoside, Coumarin and benzoic acid. The scent is similar to fresh hay with a touch of vanilla and this makes it distinguishable from other grasses.

It ranges from:
• Northern Florida to southern Canada along the East Coast and west to the Mississippi River flood plain.
• From northern California to Vancouver Island, Canada.
• North America from Europe.

Growing/Caring conditions for Anthoxanthum Odoratum
• The seeds are scattered on the surface of the soil.
• Cover the seeds thinly.
• The seeds should be sown in the spring to fall.
• The germination of seeds takes about 4-5 days.
• The soil type preferred is sandy loam and acidic.
• This plant dislikes shade and needs proper sunlight.
• Divide in spring.
• It can become weedy.
• It reproduces by seeds and by winds can get scattered around and become invasive during spring.
• This grass can become competitive to other grasses.
• This can be avoided by hand pulling individual plants, hand hoeing, mowing, or by using the herbicide Dalapon.
• They can adapt to any environmental condition.
• Water sufficiently.
• Harvesting can be done in summer or early fall.
• These grasses have potentially long seed dormancy in the soil and hence need to be taken care of the complete removal and monitoring later too.

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