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Toxic parts

The plant contains coumarin, this is toxic if taken internally[1] and is sometimes considered to be carcinogenic[2].

Edible uses


Seed - cooked[3]. Small and fiddly to use. It almost certainly does not contain coumarin and should be safe to use.

An essential oil from the leaves is used as a food flavouring in sweets and soft drinks. It has a strong vanilla-like flavour[4]. The leaves are added to vodka as a flavouring[5].

The plant is said to be used as a colouring agent[4] but no more details are given.

Unknown part

Material uses

The dried leaves are used as an incense[6][7][8], they were formerly also used as a strewing herb[9][6][5] and have been used as a stuffing in pillows and mattresses[10]. They have also been used as an insect repellent in the clothes cupboard where they impart a nice smell to the clothes[8][5].

The leaves are used to make aromatic baskets[6][7][8][1][11]. The wet leaves can be sewn together, dried until they are tight and then resin used over the stitches to make a waterproof container[10]. The leaves can be soaked in water to make a tonic hair wash[10]. An essential oil distilled from the leaves is used in perfumery where it acts as an excitant and fixative for other aromas[5].

The plant has a very aggressive root system and has been planted to stabilize banks[12].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, coughs, sore throats, chafing and venereal infections[2][10]. It is also used to stop vaginal bleeding and to expel afterbirth[2]. The stems can be soaked in water and used to treat windburn and chapping and as an eyewash[10]. Some caution is advised when using this plant internally, see the notes above on toxicity[2]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[5]. Smoke from the burning leaves has been inhaled in the treatment of colds[10].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Earth stabiliser


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed[13]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks.

If the seed is in short supply it can be sown in the cold frame in the spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Division in spring or summer[13]. Very simple, virtually any part of the root will regrow to make a new plant[K].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Hierochloe odorata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a damp position in a rich soil but succeeds in most soils including quite dry conditions[13]. Grows best in a sunny position[5].

The plants have a running root system and can spread aggressively when grown in suitable conditions[12].

The plant, as it dries, emits a powerful scent of newly mown hay[14].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Hierochloe odorata. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Hierochloe odorata.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Hierochloe odorata
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
    2. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    4. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    6. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    7. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    8. ? Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    10. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    12. ? Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    13. ? Grounds. R. Ornamental Grasses. Christopher Helm ISBN 0-7470-1219-9 (1989-00-00)
    14. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    15. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

    Facts about "Hierochloe odorata"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyGramineae +
    Belongs to genusHierochloe +
    Functions asEarth stabiliser +
    Has binomial nameHierochloe odorata +
    Has common nameHoly Grass +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part + and Seed +
    Has edible useColouring +, Condiment + and Unknown use +
    Has fertility typeWind +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useBasketry +, Hair care +, Incense +, Repellent +, Strewing + and Stuffing +
    Has mature height0.6 +
    Has mature width0.6 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useBirthing aid +, Febrifuge +, Skin + and VD +
    Has search namehierochloe odorata + and holy grass +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameHierochloe odorata +
    Has water requirementshigh +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata +, Hierochloe odorata + and Hierochloe odorata +