WSU Clark County Extension

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Vanilla Leaf

Scientific name: Achlys triphylla

Type:Groundcovers Herbaceus
Plant Requirements
Zone:7 to 9
Sun:Partial shade to full shade
Plant Characteristics
Height:1 ft
Width:5 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:March to June
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description As a Northwest native herbaceous groundcover, Vanilla Leaf is best known for the vanilla smell of its dried leaves during the winter. It is also known as Deer's Foot.

Vanilla Leaf grows all along the west coast, from northern California well up into British Columbia. Reaching to a height of 1’, it spreads out though underground rhizomes to form a dense under-story to native trees and shrubs.

Each leaf consists of 3 horizontally-oriented leaflets which have scalloped edges. Leaflets can have either finely and sharply toothed or bluntly tipped lobes.

In the months of March-June Vanilla Leaf send forth a bottlebrush-like flower featuring 8-20 long white stamens that form a showy spike positioned above the center point of the leaves. The flower spike can range from 1”-3” in length.

Vanilla Leaf prefers shaded, moist sites with high soil organic matter. Once established it is considered drought tolerant. In western Washington native plant stands, it is often found in conjunction with Thimbleberry, Salmonberry, and Lady Fern

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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