337. I789. [Hierochloe J. G. Gmel. Fl. Sib. 1: 101. 1747.]

Aromatic perennial grasses, with flat leaf-blades and contracted or open panicles. Spikelets 3-flowered, the terminal flower perfect, the others staminate. Scales 5; the first and second nearly equal, acute, glabrous; the third and fourth somewhat shorter, obtuse, entire, emarginate, 2-toothed or 2-lobed, with or without an awn, enclosing a palet and stamens; fifth scale often produced into a short awn, enclosing a palet and perfect flower. Stamens in the staminate flowers 3, in the perfect 2. Styles distinct. Stigmas plumose. Grain free, enclosed in the scales. [Name in honor of Francesco Eulalio Savastano.]

About 8 species, natives of temperate and cold regions. Type species: Savastana hirta Schrank. Third and fourth scales not awned.

Entire, culms 1°-3° tall.

Panicle 4' long or less, its branches 2' long or less; blades short, broad.




Panicle 6' long or more, its branches 4'-8' long; blades long, narrow.




Erose-truncate, culms 6' tall or less.




Third and fourth scales awned.




1. Savastana Odorata (L.) Scribn. Holy Grass. Seneca-Grass

Fig. 408

Holcus odoratus L. Sp. PI. 1048. 1753.

Hierochloa borealis R. & S. Syst. 2: 513. 1817.

Hierochloa odorata Wahl. Fl. Ups. 32. 1820.

Savastana odorata Scribn. Mem. Torr. Club, 5: 34. 1894.

Glabrous, culms 1 °-2° tall, erect, simple, smooth. Sheaths smooth; ligule 1"-2" long; lower blades elongated, 4'-8' long, 1"-3" wide, scabrous, the upper ones -2' long; panicle 2'-4' long, its branches l'-2' long, usually spreading, naked below; spikelets yellowish-brown and purple, 2"-3" long; first and second scales about equal, glabrous; third and fourth villous and strongly ciliate, entire, awn-pointed, the fifth smaller than the others, villous at the apex.

Labrador and Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New Jersey, Iowa and Colorado. Also in northern Europe and Asia. June-July. This and other sweet-scented grasses are strewn before the churches in northern Europe, whence the name Holy-grass. Also known as Vanilla-grass.

1 Savastana Odorata L Scribn Holy Grass Seneca Gra 408

2. Savastana Nashii Bicknell. Nodding Vanilla-Grass

Fig. 409

Savastana Nashii Bicknell, Bull. Torr. Club, 25: 104. pl. 328. 1898.

Plant smooth, glabrous and shining. Culms erect, slender, simple, 2°-3° tall. Sheaths overlapping, striate; ligule scarious, 2"-3" long; blades erect or ascending, elongated, a little roughened above, the culm leaves 5 or 6, 2'-8' long, 2"-3' wide, acuminate; panicle long-exserted, loose and open, '7'-17 long, its apex nodding, the capillary branches drooping, the larger 3'-7' long, in pairs, the divisions more or less flexuous; spikelets 2 1/2"-4" long, on capillary pedicels; scales 5, the outer 2 empty, abruptly long-acuminate, the first -nerved, the second 3-nerved, the third and fourth scales about 2 1/2" long, rough, ciliate on the margins with ascending hairs, 5-nerved, acute, usually awn-pointed, the fifth scale smaller, smooth, his-pidulous at the apex, sometimes awn-pointed.

Along brackish marshes, New York City. July-Aug.

2 Savastana Nashii Bicknell Nodding Vanilla Grass 4092 Savastana Nashii Bicknell Nodding Vanilla Grass 410

3. Savastana Pauciflora (R. Br.) Scribn. Arctic Holy Grass

Fig. 410

Hierochloa pauciflora R. Br. App. Parry's Voy. 293. 1824. S. pauciflora Scribn. Mem. Torr. Bot. Club, 5: 353. 1894.

Glabrous, culms 6' high or less, erect, simple, smooth. Sheaths mostly at the base of the culm, overlapping; ligule about 1/2" long; blades smooth, the basal ones 1'-2' long, 1/2" wide, involute at least when dry; culm-blades 1/2 long or less, 1" wide, flat; panicle less than 1' long, contracted; spikelets few, 1 1/2-2" long; first and second scales 1 1/2"-2" long, smooth and glabrous; third and fourth shorter, scabrous, erose-truncate, the fifth shorter than the others, obtuse, villous at the apex.

Arctic America. Summer.

4. Savastana Alpina (Sw.) Scribn. Alpine Holy Grass

Fig. 411

Holcus alpinus Sw.; Willd. Sp. PI. 4: 937. 1806. Hierochloa alpina R. & S. Syst. 2: 515. 1817. Savastana alpina Scribn. Mem. Torr. Club, 5: 34. 1894.

Glabrous and smooth, culms 6'-18' tall, erect, simple. Sheaths shorter than the internodes; ligule less than 1" long; lower blades elongated, 3'-6' long, about 1" wide, the upper much shorter, 1/2'-2' long, 1"-2" wide; panicle 3/4'-1 1/2' long, contracted, branches short, erect or ascending; occasionally the panicle is larger with longer and spreading branches; spikelets 2 1/2"-3 1/2" long, crowded; first and second scales glabrous, 2 1/2"-3 1/2" long; third and fourth shorter, scabrous, ciliate on the margins, the former bearing an awn about 1" long, the latter with a more or less bent awn about 3" long; fifth scale shorter than the others, acute, usually awn-pointed, villous at the apex.

Greenland to Alaska, south to the high mountains of New England and New York. Also in northern Europe and Asia. July-Aug.

4 Savastana Alpina Sw Scribn Alpine Holy Grass 411