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Achlys triphylla - (Sm.)DC.
Common Name Vanilla leaf, Sweet after death
Family Berberidaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Coniferous forests, usually in mountainous regions, at elevations up to 1500 metres[270].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Moist Soil Semi-shade


Achlys triphylla Vanilla leaf, Sweet after death

Achlys triphylla Vanilla leaf, Sweet after death
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Achlys triphylla is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in). It is in flower from Apr to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Emetic;  Ophthalmic;  TB.

The plant was used by native North Americans to treat anumber of health problems, though it is little used in modern herbalism[257, 270]. An infusion of the leaves was used in the treatment of tuberculosis and as an emetic[257, 270]. An infusion of the dry shredded roots was used to treat cataracts[257].
Other Uses
Hair;  Repellent.

The leaves have been dried and hung in houses to repel flies and mosquitoes[257]. A decoction of the plant has been used as a furniture and floor wash to get rid of lice, bedbugs and other household pests[257]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a hair wash[257].
Cultivation details
A woodland plant, it requires a position in semi-shade and a humus-rich soil[280].
Seed - we have no information for this species, bu it is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady part of a cold frame. If stored seed is used, it should be sown as soon as it is received. Germination can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady part of a greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions during autumn or early winter. Division should be possible in early spring or just after flowering.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Readers comment
Virginia Menstell   Mon Dec 15 2008
Looking for references on pollination for this plant. Since it repels some insects am thinking it pollinates by another mechanism - wind doesn't seem likely since this plant rarely gets much along the forest floor. Could it be that its reliance on insects for propagation has become replaced with self propagation? or that it never needed insects to begin with and evolved to use scent to repel insect consumption? Thx for your time, vm vmenstell@hotmail.com
DN   Mon Dec 15 2008
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Subject : Achlys triphylla  

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