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Sweet Vernal Grass

Anthoxanthum oderatum

A close up photograph of Sweet Vernal Grass
Sweet Vernal Grass in the sunshine

How to spot

Thin, wiry grass with short leaves and a spike of flowers at the top of the stem. Where the leaf meets the stem, there is a fringe of hairs which look like eyelashes.

Where to spot

On old meadows and grasslands that are often rich in wild flowers. Here, it’s one of the first meadow grasses to come into flower in the spring.

Don’t mistake it with

Red Fescue – another grass with a narrow stem and pointy flower spikes, but which is bigger and lacks the scent.

Sweet Vernal grass

Things you might not know

It gives out a scent that is THE distinctive smell of a hay meadow – somewhere between vanilla and almond. Some people like to chew the grass to get the taste of the scent.

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