Plantsnap – Identify Plants, Trees, Mushrooms With An App

Vanilla Leaf (Achlys)


Achlys is a small genus of flowering plants in the barberry family (Berberidaceae), which it shares with genera such as Berberis and Vancouveria. It is named after the Greek goddess Achlys. There are either two or three species, depending on the authority. Achlys triphylla and Achlys californica are both native to western North America. Another Achlys is found in Japan: some authorities treat this as a subspecies of A. triphylla, while others, especially in older treatments, call this Achlys japonica. Still others consider A. triphylla and A. californica too similar to be separate species. The common names for these plants include vanilla leaf (sometimes written as vanilla-leaf or vanillaleaf, depending on the taxonomist or flora), deer's foot and sweet after death, referring to the vanilla scent of its crushed leaves.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum: Magnoliophyta

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Ranunculales

            • Family: Berberidaceae

              • Genus: Achlys