Carphephorus odoratissimus Vanillaleaf is a perennial that produces many small purple flowers in terminal, flat-topped inflorescences. Its basal leaves are straplike, are 6 inches to 1 foot in length, and form a rosette. Stem leaves are clasping and reduced in size as they ascend the stem. They are alternately arranged. Stems are glabrous.
The common name, vanillaleaf, refers to the vanilla-like scent that the wilting leaves emit when crushed. The species epithet, odoratissimus, is from the Latin for “most fragrant” and also alludes to the leaves’ scent.