Vanilla Leaf

Scientific name

Achlys Triphylla


Vanilla leaf is a perennial herb that typically grows between 0.2-0.4m tall. It has leaves that are pale green, coarsely toothed, and 3-lobed, and the plants spread by rhizomes to form a dense, leafy groundcover. Each plant has a single central stem that extends directly from the rhizome, and at the tip of the stem there is a spike of small white flowers that can reach up to 5cm long. Their flowers appear from mid-spring in the lowlands to early summer on mountain slopes. Vanilla leaf plants have reddish-purple berries that are not edible. It is called vanilla leaf for the sweet smell that emnates from the crushed, dried leaves.

Planting conditions

Vanilla leaf grows best with partial to full shade. It prefers humus-rich acidic soils, but can tolerate most soil conditions including sand, clay, and loam as long as they remain somewhat moist. Vanilla leaf is often found in open forests and glades, along forest edges, or along the sides of streams or roadsides.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
  • Moisture level:
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
    • Humus
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
  • Eco Zone:
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
    • 8a
    • 8b
    • 9a
  • Plant type:
    • Vine
    • Ground Cover
    • Fern
  • Height:
    • 40cm
  • Spread:
    • 30cm