Sweetgrass braids

Native Americans used sweetgrass, Hierochloe odorata, for purification in birth, death and other rituals and ceremonies. As the braid is made, prayers are said, when the braid is burned, the prayers go up to heaven. Although not a particularly ornamental grass, with vigorous rhizomes and irregular form, the early flowers are among the first grasses to bloom in spring. Shown here is a clump of sweetgrass, before and after making a braid.
Braids can last for several years, although the sweet vanilla fragrance is strongest in the first year. At left are braids two years old.


About grasstalk

University of Minnesota Professor and Extension Horticulturist
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