Jan. 17, 2022

northern sweet grass. Anthoxanthum hirtum

Sweet grass is summarized very well by Allred and Barkworth in Flora of North America, "Wherever they grow, the species that used to be treated as Hierochloe have been used by native peoples. Native Americans used them for incense, baskets and decoration. In addition they steeped them in water for a hair-, skin-, and eyewash, or for use as a cold medicine, analgesic, or insecticide. Early Europeans spread the species in churches at festivals. They can also be used to make ale." Pika gather them to make hay. And they lead me to a pet peeve; that in all the many discussions of native uses of plants, they almost never tell us what nativer names were for the plants they knew so well. They would have had no cause to debate the difference between Anthoxanthum and Hierochloe. We generally call all of them sweetgrass. This one is sometimes also called northern, and grows in AK, AZ, CA, CO, DE IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, in all provinces of Canada, and on GL and SPM. Ives Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 5/10/14. Grass family, Poaceae.