Sweet Vernal-grass

Anthoxanthum odoratum

  1. Wildlife
  2. Grasses
  3. Sweet Vernal-grass


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 provides a sweet, vanilla-like taste. It is the foodplant for the larvae of brown and skipper butterflies.

How to identify

The cylindrical flower spikes of Sweet Vernal-grass are distinctive in a meadow. Its leaves are broad and flat and its spikelets (containing the flowers) are packed closely together.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways these fragile habitats are kept in good condition - supporting wildflowers and grasses, along with the invertebrates that feed on them and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on the invertebrates. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Sweet Vernal-grass
Latin name
Anthoxanthum odoratum
Height: up to 50cm
Conservation status