E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Anthoxanthum odoratum L.
sweet vernalgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #23763)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Anthoxanthum odoratum
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems hollow, 30-60 cm tall.
Sheaths open, usually smooth; blades (2) 3-7 mm wide, flat, usually slightly soft-hairy or fringed with soft hairs at least near the base, the hairs 1-2 mm long, with ear-shaped lobes at the leaf-bases well developed; ligules (1) 2-3 mm long, membranous, the margins minutely fringed with small hairs.
Inflorescence a narrow, congested panicle, 2-9 cm long, tawny; glumes pointed, rough short-hairy, the lower ones 4-5 mm long, 1-nerved, the upper ones 8-10 mm long, 3-nerved; sterile lemmas more or less equal, about 3 mm long, narrow, rounded and shallow-notched at the tips, soft-hairy to stiff-hairy, the first ones awned from the back somewhat above the midlength, the awns about 3 mm long, the second ones awned from well below the midlength, the awns 7-10 mm long, twisted and abruptly bent; fertile lemmas about 2 mm long, firm, smooth, brown; paleas nearly equal to the lemmas; anthers 4-5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry lawns, fields, waste areas, rock outcrops and meadows in the lowland zone; common on S Vancouver Island, rare N to the Queen Charlotte Islands; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Anthoxanthum odoratum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 137 254 790
Slope Gradient (%) 0 29 84
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
19 104 290
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 1 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(6), CWH(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Anthoxanthum odoratum var. puelii (Lecoq & Lamotte) Coss. & Durieu
Anthoxanthum puelii Lecoq & Lamotte

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References