Trilisa odoratissima (J.F.Gmel.) Cass. - syn.Liatris odoratissima (J.F. Gmel.) Willd.; Carphephorus odoratissimus (Gmel.) Herbert. - Asteraceae
dear tongue, deer's tongue, Carolina vanilla, vanillaplant, Hirschzunge, Vanillewurzelkraut
Perennial herb with slight to strong odor of coumarin, up to 140cm tall, native to southeastern North America; basal leaves oblanceolate to obovate, gradually reduced distally, flowers small, bright purple.
„This plant, known as Deer's tongue or Vanilla plant, has radical and stem leaves; the former are obovate-spatulate, tapering below, generally 7-veined, and sometimes slightly obtusely toothed. The stem leaves are oblong and clasping. The leaves are more or less glaucous and fleshy. The flower-heads are arranged in a panicle or corymb, and are from 4 to 10-flowered, the blossoms being of a vivid purple hue. The involucre has but few scales, and these are spatulate-oblong, and imbricated. Pappus not plumose, but finely barbollate. The rhizome of this species is not tuberous. Deer's tongue is found from Virginia south, and flowers in September and October. The leaves, when dry, have a pleasant odor.“
[King's American Dispensatory, 1898] https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/liatris.html
„Leaves of deer's tongue, Trilisa odoratissima (J.F.Gmel.)Cass., a coumarin-containing plant indigenous to wooded areas in southeastern United States, are used in the tobacco industry, particularly in cigarette mixtures. The coumarin contributed by the leaves is said to enhance existing flavors and to „fix“ the natural
taste of the tobacco…
Fresh leaves of deer’s tongue contain large quantities (more than 10% of the dry weight, in some cases) of o-hydroxycinnamic acid (o-HCA). Both cis- and trans-o-HCA are present, and both isomers exist in the fresh tissue predominantly as glucosides. Cured deer’s tongue leaves contain relatively high levels of coumarin and lower amounts of o-HCA glucosides. It is probable that during the curing process cis-o-HCA glucoside is hydrolyzed by an endogenous ß-glucosidase, and that the liberated cis-o-HCA lactonizes spontaneously to form coumarin.“
[Form and level of coumarin in deer’s tongue, Trilisa odoratissima., Haskins, Francis A., H. J. Gorz, and R. C. Leffel., Economic Botany, Vol.26(1), 1972, 44-48]
Solvent extraction of the dried leaves yields an oleoresin, to which molecular distillation is applied to give a 'liatrix absolute'.
„The olfactive profile is sweet, coumarinic, herbal, tobacco-like and offers a pleasant, vanilla-like scent.“
[Firmenich datasheet Liatrix abs dec 954888, Feb 2015] http://firmenich.cdn.oxv.fr/uploads/files/ingredients/marketing-sheet/perfumery/LIATRIX_Perf_V1_Feb_15.pd
(picture copyright UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens)