Sweet vernal-grass

Sweet Vernal-grass

©Richard Burkmarr

Sweet vernal-grass

+ -
Scientific name: Anthoxanthum odoratum
Flowering in spring, the cylindrical, densely packed flower spikes of Sweet vernal-grass are easily spotted in a meadow. It also tastes of sweet vanilla and was once a favourite 'chewing grass'.

Top facts


Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Sweet vernal-grass is a common perennial of grasslands and meadows that flowers between April and July. Its dense clusters of flowers form cylindrical flower spikes that sit atop stiff stems. Aromatic when dried, Sweet vernal-grass was once a favourite chewing grass for many people as it has a sweet, vanilla-like taste. It is the foodplant for the larvae of brown and skipper butterflies.

What to look for

Sweet vernal-grass has cylindrical flower spikes with closely packed spikelets (containing the flowers). Its leaves are broad and flat.

Where to find


Did you know?

The pollen of Sweet vernal-grass is particularly aggravating to hayfever sufferers.