Sunday, 26 April 2009

Sweet Vernal Grass

Sweet Vernal Grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) is one of the first grasses of the year to flower.

As grasses go it's a fairly dainty little thing - but you shouldn't have much problem finding it on Chorlton Ees and in many other places.

It is loaded with a chemical called 'coumarin' - which gives new mown hay its characteristic smell. Like all good things, coumarin is only good in small doses. In high concentrations it has a pungent, bitter-almond scent. Someone once told me that Sweet Vernal Grass was sweet tasting and good to chew. Nevertheless, when I tried it, I found it revolting. The sensation was if someone had coated the mucus membranes at the back of my nose with bitter-almond oil - definitely not recommended!

Dave Bishop, April 2009

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