A tropical grass growing up to 2 m high, Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is characterized by its extensive root system that tends to grow deep up to 4 m or more. Because of such characteristic, it is commonly planted to prevent soil erosion in sloping areas. The root yields high quality, woody, and heavy-scented essential oil which is used in fruit drinks, syrup sweets, etc. It is also used in making soaps, perfumery, cosmetics, deodorants, and other toiletries. The roots are used to make baskets, fans, mats, and cooling screens. Powdered roots show insecticidal properties. Stems and old leaves, on the other hand, are used as thatch or process into a coarse paper-pulp. Other Names: Akar wangi, Botha grass, Janur, Khas-khas, Khus-khus, Kusu-kusu, Larasetu, Larawastu, Nara setu, Nara wastu, Narawastu, Ramacham, Reshira, Sugandhimula, Usar, Vetiver Root, Vetiver.


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. 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.