Anthoxanthum L.

(incl. Hierochloe R. Brown)

As currently circumscribed (incl. Hierochloe) Anthoxanthum is a genus of ca. 50 closely related species, chiefly confined to the northern hemisphere (some however extending to northern and southern Africa and southeastern Asia). One species is native in Belgium, Anthoxanthum odoratum L. All species are scented with coumarin.

The genus Hierochloe is closely related to Anthoxanthum and now merged with it (Schouten & Veldkamp 1985, Zhenlan & Phillips 2006, Allred & Barkworth 2007). The two genera appear distinct in Belgium but overlap when considered at a global scale. Therefore, there is no justification for continuing to recognize two separate genera. This point of view is also corroborated by molecular data (Pimentel & al. 2013). 

1. Lowermost floret male. Glumes (sub-) equal. Lemma acute to minutely mucronate at apex === 2. Anthoxanthum nitens

1. Lowermost floret sterile. Glumes unequal. Lemma distinctly awned === 2

2. Caespitose perennial with non-flowering shoots at anthesis. Inflorescence 3-10(-14) cm long. Ligule up to 5(-7) mm long. Leaf blades up to 10 mm wide (native) === A. odoratum

2. Tufted annual, without non-flowering shoots at anthesis. Inflorescence 1-3 (-5) cm long. Ligule up to 3 mm long. Leaf blades up to 5 mm wide === 1. A. aristatum



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Conert H.J. (ed.) (1998) Gustav Hegi Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa. Band I, Teil 3 Poaceae (3.Auflage). Parey Buchverlag, Berlin: XXVII + 898 p.

Drapikowska M. (2013) Variability of Anthoxanthum species in Poland in relation to geographical-historical and environmental conditions: morphological and anatomical variation. Biodiv. Res. Conserv. 30:3-61. [available online at:]

Jansen P. & Wachter W.H. (1915) Floristische aanteekeningen IX. Nederl. Kruidk. Arch. 1915: 142-171.

Paunero E. (1953) Las especies españolas del género Anthoxanthum L. Anales Inst. Bot. Cavanilles 12: 401-442.

Pimentel Pereira M. (2005) Estudio taxonómico y biogeográfico de las especies europeas del género Anthoxanthum L. (Poaceae: Pooideae: Aveneae). Coruna, Spain: Universidade da Coruna, thesis: 266 p. [available online at:]

Pimentel Pereira M., Esteves Perez G. & Sahuquillo Balbuena E. (2007) European sweet vernal grasses (Anthoxanthum: Poaceae, Pooideae, Aveneae): a morphometric taxonomical approach. Syst. Bot. 32(1): 43-59.

Pimentel M., Sahuquillo E., Torrecilla Z., Popp M., Catalán P. & Brochmann C. (2013) Hybridization and long-distance colonization at different time scales: towards resolution of long-term controversies in the sweet vernal grasses (Anthoxanthum). Ann. Bot. 112: 1015-1030.

Rostanski A. (1996) Vernal-grasses (Anthoxanthum, Poaceae) in Poland. Fragm. Flor. Geobot. 41(2): 513-520.

Schouten Y. & Veldkamp J.F. (1985) A revision of Anthoxanthum including Hierochloë (Gramineae) in Malaysia and Thailand. Blumea 30: 319-351.

Tutin T.G. (1980) Anthoxanthum. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 229-230.

Valdés B. (1973) Revisión de las especies anuales del género Anthoxanthum (Gramineae). Lagascalia 3(1): 99-141.

Weimarck G. (1971) Variation and taxonomy of Hierochloë (Gramineae) in the Northern Hemisphere. Bot. Notiser 124: 129-175.

Zhenlan W. & Phillips S.M. (2006) Anthoxanthum. In: Zhengyi W. & Raven, P.H. (eds.), Flora of China, vol. 22: 336-339. Science Press, Beijing & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith