Also found in: Wikipedia.
a genus of annual and perennial grasses of the family Gramineae. The raceme is a spike-shaped, greenish brown panicle. The spikelets are single-flowered, with four husks. The two upper ones have short awns, or beards. There are two stamens. According to various sources, there are from five to twenty species, found in temperate and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere. There are three species in the USSR. The most common is sweet vernal grass (A. odoratum), a perennial, loosely formed grain that is frequently seen in the forest zone. It grows on meadows, fields, and brushwood, less often in the forests on poor acid soils. Sweet vernal grass develops early in the spring. In pastures and in hay it is eaten as a component of feed by domesticated animals. Sweet vernal grass contains the fragrant substance coumarin.