Agrostis verticillata Lam.
Agrostis verticillata Vill.
Anatherum muricatum (Retz.) P.Beauv.
Anatherum zizanioides (L.) Hitchc. & Chase
Andropogon festucoides J.Presl
Andropogon muricatum Retz.
Andropogon muricatus Retz.
Andropogon squarrosus L.f.
Andropogon zizanioides (L.) Urb.
Holcus zizanioides (L.) Kuntze ex Stuck.
Phalaris zizanioides L.
Sorghum zizanioides (L.) Kuntze
Vetiveria arundinacea Griseb.
Vetiveria muricata (Retz.) Griseb.
Vetiveria odorata Virey
Vetiveria odoratissima Bory
Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash
Common Name: Vetiveria
Photograph by: Deepugn
Roots - used for making baskets etc, and as a source of an essential oil.
Photograph by: Sengai Podhuvan
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Hand Fan made from the root
Photograph by: Thamizhpparithi Maari
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Chrysopogon zizanioides is a coarse, evergreen, perennial grass forming large, dense clumps 1 - 1.5 metres tall, occasionally to 3 metres[
]. The plant has a stout, compact, aromatic, branched, spongy rhizome and fibrous root system growing to a depth of 4 metres[
Vetiveria grass is the source of a valuable essential oil, for which purpose it is often grown commercially. Amongst its many other uses, it provides material for thatch, has many medicinal applications and is cultivated to protect the soil from erosion.
E. Asia - Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand.
Floodplains and the banks of streams and rivers[
]. Rich moist soils, often along water courses[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Chrysopogon zizanioides is a plant of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 35°c, but can tolerate 12 - 45°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -15°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 200 - 5,000mm[
]. This species cannot tolerate hard frosts. In areas that experience much frost, it is better to divide up the plant is the autumn, potting up the divisions and over-wintering them in a greenhouse before planting them back outdoors in late spring[
Vetiveria grass is a fast-growing grass that is non-invasive, very deep rooting, insect and vermin proof. It is drought resistant, and also withstands inundation[
]. It prefers a moisture-retentive soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in a very wide range of soils, tolerating occasional waterlogging once established[
]. Plants are very tolerant of saline soils[
]. Prefers a Ph in the range 4.5 - 8, tolerating 3 - 9.9[
A yield of 1 - 5 tonnes of dried roots per hectare can be harvested annually, at an oil content of 0.7 - 2.5%, this produces 40 - 100 kilos of essential oil[
The roots are aromatic and are used as a food flavouring[
An essential oil obtained from the roots is used as a flavouring in sherbets, syrup sweets, fruit drinks and canned asparagus[
]. It is used in certain canned foods, such as asparagus and peas, to reinforce the natural odour and taste[
The essential oil obtained from the roots is used medicinally as a carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic, antispasmodic and sudorific[
A stimulant drink is made from fresh rhizomes[
The plants are used as an anthelmintic[
Unlike most grasses, which tend to have a more or less surface-rooting habit, the very dense root system of Vetiver has a strong tendency to grow downwards for 4 metres or more. This effectively anchors strips of plants and the soil behind them[
Traditionally, the plant is grown in southern India in strips as permanent field boundaries and occasionally in contour strips to control erosion, while in Java it is planted to protect sloping drains[
Its use as an erosion-control plant has spread throughout the tropics, but for a long time remained restricted to small areas. Recent interest started in Fiji, where it was grown in contour strips in sugar-cane plantations on steep slopes. Since the late 1980s, its planting for erosion control has been promoted strongly, not only around fields, but also to protect terraces and road shoulders[
]. Strips of densely packed, stiff and tough grass stems break the speed of run-off water and divide it evenly, reducing the risk of formation of run-off streams and gully erosion[
The plant is highly tolerant of heavy metals in the soil, including silver, cadmium, manganese and aluminium. In addition, it can grow in land where fuel has been spilt. Over a period of time it gradually accumulates these toxins which can then be removed by cutting the grass and the metals can be reclaimed[
A high-quality essential oil, known as 'vetiver oil' is obtained from the root[
]. Its scent is heavy and woody[
]. It has a wide range of applications, being used is used in perfumery, cosmetics, deodorants, soaps and other toilet articles[
]. In perfumery, the essential oil and vetiveryl acetate, synthesized by acetylation of vetiver oil, are important fixatives for more volatile fragrance materials. The chemical stability of vetiver oil under alkaline conditions makes it a suitable scent compound for soaps[
The essential oil, and the roots, have insecticidal and insect-repellent properties about which little is known[
The roots are used for making baskets, mats, fans or 'pamaypay' in the Philippines and cooling screens named 'tatties' in India. These give a pleasant smell to a room, especially when dampened[
The dried roots, or sachets of powdered roots, are stored between clothes to give them a pleasant smell and to repel insects[
The stems and old leaves are an excellent, long lasting thatch and can be processed into a coarse paper-pulp[