Achlys triphylla - Vanilla Leaf
Height: 1 foot tall, rhizomatous perennial groundcover
Habitat: Moist soil in shady forested areas with high organic matter. Drought tolerant once established.
Foliage: Scalloped leaves are divided into three leaflets horizontally on stem. Leaves can be finely and sharply toothed or have blunt tipped lobes.
Flowers: Small, white, bottle brush shaped flowers bloom March to June. Flower spike 1-3 inches in length.
Fruits: Achnes, dark grey-brown to reddish purple, very fine hairy, leathery, crescent- shaped, inner side concave.
Natural Habitat: Western North America; moist, shady forests; low to moderate elevations; stream banks or well-shaded ravines.
Why is it good for my garden? Crushed leaves have a vanilla scent for this wonderful groundcover. When dried properly, this plant gives a strongly aromatic smell of vanilla which can make for a decent air freshener. This plant also has insect repelling characteristics when hung in bunches dried in doorways or even can serve as a naturalist remedy to repel flies and mosquitoes. Often found alongside thimbleberry, salmonberry, and lady fern.
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