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Hierochloe odorata

Sweetgrass is commonly used in Lakota ceremonies. Buy a sweetgrass braid today!

Sweetgrass is a winter-hardy, sweet smelling, perennial grass that grows in rich, moist soil. It can be found in North America from Alaska to South Carolina.

The bases of the leaves are broad, white and hairless. The undersides of the leaves are shiny, flat and hairless. The average length of the leaves is 20 inches. When the grass is dried out, the leaves curl. Most other grasses stay flat when dried.

The leaves are dried, twisted into braids and burned as vanilla scented incense in some sacred ceremonies.

In the Native culture, sweetgrass is used to make the world famous baskets and other crafts. The sweet, vanilla-like smell lasts for years. The scent only develops when the leaves have dried.

Sweetgrass is used in virtually every sacred ceremony performed by the Lakota (Sioux) people, making it one of the most honored native plants of the Plains.

When used in traditional ceremonies, the rising smoke from the burning sweetgrass symbolizes purification of the people’s hopes, needs and oneness with all things to the Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka.


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