Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Sweetgrass
Give a thumbs up Vanilla grass
Give a thumbs up Holy grass
Give a thumbs up Seneca Grass
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Give a thumbs up Zebrovka
Give a thumbs up Sweet grass

Botanical names:
Hierochloe odorata Accepted
Hierochloe hirta Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Plant Height: 12 - 24 inches
Leaves: Fragrant
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Pollinators: Wind

Bundled and hung to dry

Photo gallery:
Location: Lincoln, NEDate: Sep 15, 2011 Bundled and hung to dry
By Moby
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Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
By Joy
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2016-04-10plant in a pot
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-04-24patch planted in backyard
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-04-10close-up of blades
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: May in 2012close-up of flowers
By ILPARW
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Location: DownDate: 2016-04-10flowers of grass in pot
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 10, 2018 2:49 PM

About 2005 I bought a plant in a small pot sent by mail from Limerock Ornamental Grasses, Inc. that once existed in Port Matilda, PA. I grew it for the first year in a bigger pot to have it grow faster to a larger size. I planted it way back in the backyard border. It became a small patch as this grass spreads and is not a clump. It did fine for a number of years in that moist area. However, it became to shady in that area and I moved it into a big pot where it has been ever since. I did not replant it in the ground because I don't have a really constantly moist soil by itself in full sun to move it into. Furthermore, it is a low plant that can't compete with some of my taller plants around. it is a pretty little plant. As others commented, it is used by Native Americans for burning like incense after they dry it out and make it into a kind of braid.

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Posted by Moby (Lincoln, NE) on Sep 25, 2011 9:13 AM

Traditionally used by Native Americans for purification prior to rituals. Frequently braided before drying. May be used for making baskets.

To retain its green color, dry this grass away from direct sunlight.

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Sep 25, 2011 4:26 PM

This plant has the sweetest fragrance -- earthy, but with vanilla.

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Posted by Rhapsody616 (Long Beach Ca USA - Zone 10a) on Sep 30, 2013 1:19 AM

Many Native American and other spiritualists burned Sweetgrass in ceremonies to invite the presence of good spirits after they had burned sage to remove bad spirits and unwanted energy. Sweetgrass is a sort of incense that comes in a braid and is made available at many small metaphysical and apothecary stores. The Dakota name for Sweet Grass is Wachanga, while the Omaha name for it is Pezhezonsta. The Winnebago name for sweet grass is Manuska and the Pawnee call it Kataru. The most common scientific name for sweet grass is Hierochloe odorata. which might also be spelled Hierochloe odorada. You might find useful information under its other scientific names, which include Torresia odorada and Savastana odorada. We who use it to bring blessings and harmony to our home atop a hot Three Kings, Holland, or Swiftlite charcoal just call it Sweetgrass.

Sweetgrass prefers wet clay-like soil called Wet Mesic, where the soil often contains clay and the water drains very slowly. Moisture and water content in the soil is very high over long periods of time. If you live in USDA zones higher than 7B, keep it in the shade.

The seeds have a very low germination rate of 10 percent, so if you are trying to grow them from seed, make sure you buy 50+ seeds. Sweetgrass is mostly grown by root division.

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Plant Events from our members
carpathiangirl On April 16, 2019 Obtained plant
3 in.start
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Sweetgrass by Weedwhacker Jul 29, 2019 12:54 PM 7
´╗┐Hierochloe hirta (Sweetgrass) by Weedwhacker Feb 2, 2016 9:59 AM 7
Herbal teas by Mindy03 Jul 17, 2018 7:25 PM 47

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