Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Chrysopogon zizanioides - vetiver grass
Vetiver grass, is Chrysopogon zizanioides, formerly known as Vetiveria zizanioides, is a perennial grass of Andropogoneae tribe of the Poaceae family. The Andropogoneae tribe also include the infamous corn ( Zea ), lallang ( Imperata ), lemongrass ( Cymbopogon ), Job’s tears ( Coix ), sugarcane ( Sacharum ), sorghum ( Sorghum ), etc. Thus it is not surprise vetiver resembles lemongrass in many morphological characteristics. All member of this tribe utilize C4 carbon fixation in photosynthesis.
In its origin Indian Subcontinent, it is known as khus ( Hindi ), Valo ( Gujarati, Marathi ), Kuruveeru ( Telugu ), Vattiver ( Tamil ), Ramaccham ( Malyalam ), etc.
Vetiver can grow up to 1.5 meters in height and form clumps as wide. The flowers are brownish-purple. Its root grow vertically downward, up to 4 meter in depth. Vetiver is frost and fire resistant, drought tolerant, and can sustain heavy grazing.
Most commercially grown vetiver are sterile. They propagate via producing small offsets from stems. Thus they are non-invasive and can be easily controlled. One widely cultivated non-fertile cultigen is ‘Sunshine’, a genotype named after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana, USA.