Anthoxanthum odoratum

Anthoxanthum odoratum_ sweet vernalgrass_ JM Di Tomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: sweet vernal grass; vanilla grass

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) is a short-lived perennial grass (family Poaceae) that grows in hay fields, meadows, roadsides and along ditches. It is native to acidic grasslands of Eurasia and northern Africa. Leaves have a sweet scent, plants flower in late spring and early summer. Inflorescences are often dark in color; floret lemmas have projecting awns. Leaves are hairy and ligules are long and papery. Sweet vernal grass is locally common in coastal grasslands and along roadsides in northern California, particularly along the coast where it is also considered a beneficial forage plant. Anthoxanthum odoratum creates a dense surface root mat, can outcompete other grasses, and can inhibit germination of other plant.

Cal-IPC Rating: Limited?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

There are no Symposium presentations associated with this species yet.

Other Anthoxanthum odoratum Information

  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Anthoxanthum odoratum_florets (closeup)_KeirMorse
    Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) florets (closeup). Photo: Keir Morse
    Anthoxanthum odoratum_inflorescence(early flower)_ZoyaAkulova
    Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) inflorescence (early flower). Photo: Zoya Akulova
    Anthoxanthum odoratum_leaf blade, sheath, and stem_ZoyaAkulova
    Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) leaf blade, sheath and stem. Photo: Zoya Akulova
    Anthoxanthum odoratum_infestation_ZoyaAkulova
    Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) infestation. Photo: Zoya Akulova