Vetiver Bibliographical Information

Excerpts from the Scientific Literature

This material was assembled for reference during the NRC vetiver study. It is unvetted and has never been reworked into structured text. Much of it is under copyright. Full references for citations in {brackets} are contained in the

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It seems that stout rhizomes are a characteristic of the genus, and probably all species can be propagated by division of the roots and planting out as Camus (1921) describes. {Frances Cook.}

In Gabon it is planted along ditches and roadsides to conserve the soil, delimit field boundaries, etc. {Raponda-Walker and Sillans, 1961}

In West Africa it is used as a border for roads, gardens, and cultivated fields to the prevent the extension of Dub grass (Desmostachya bipinnata). The leaves are odorless and can be used in their young state as cattle fodder. {Dalziel, 1937}

Introduced into tropical and subtropical Tunisia by the Europeans, and is sometimes planted along tracks to conserve the soils. {Trochain, 1940}

In Malaya the roots are used to provide an important curry-stuff (Khasu-Khasu. Gilliland, 1971}

A common hedge plant in Ghana. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Akpable, G.K. 565}

Used for stuffing mattresses in the Central African Republic. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Fay, J.M. 4494}

Cultivated as a border hedge in Tanzania. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Wingfield, R. 3394}

Contour plant and cattle fodder in Tanzania. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Hill, W.G. 5901}

Cultivated and possibly for use as a mulch in coffee plantations in Zimbabwe. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Nicoll, W.D. 267119}

Cultivated extensively by Indians {Mauritians?} in Natal, South Africa as a hedge plant. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Pole-Evans, I.B. s.n. Natal}

Vetiver is cultivated to a limited extent in South Africa. The species does not, apparently, flower regularly under cultivation. {Meredith, 1955}

Vetiver is used to cover the ground around taro to choke out weeds in (Aunu'u, ) Samoa. {Kew Herbarium Collection: Whistler, A. W 3271}

Planted to avoid soil wash and invasion of weeds in Barbados. {Kew Herbarium Collection: McIntosh, A.G.S. and J.A. Allan 440}

Distribution of Vetiveria zizanioides from Kew Herbarium specimens.

Pakistan {Kew Herbarium}

India {Kew Herbarium}

Nepal {Kew Herbarium}

Burma {Kew Herbarium}

Sri Lanka {Kew Herbarium}

Thailand {Kew Herbarium}

Malay Peninsula {Kew Herbarium}

Java {Kew Herbarium}

Philippines {Kew Herbarium}

Samoa {Kew Herbarium}

New Caledonia {Kew Herbarium}

Tonga {Kew Herbarium}

Fiji {Kew Herbarium}

Tropical Africa {Kew Herbarium}

Costa Rice {Kew Herbarium}

Haiti {Kew Herbarium}

Cuba {Kew Herbarium}

Jamaica {Kew Herbarium}

Puerto Rico {Kew Herbarium}

Antigua {Kew Herbarium}

St. Vincent {Kew Herbarium}

Martinique {Kew Herbarium}

Barbados {Kew Herbarium}

Trinidad {Kew Herbarium}

Argentina {Kew Herbarium}

Santa Maria, Colombia {Kew Herbarium}

French Guiana {Kew Herbarium}

Guyana {Kew Herbarium}

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil {Kew Herbarium}

Para, Brazil {Kew Herbarium}

Bahia, Brazil {Kew Herbarium}

Central Paraguay {Kew Herbarium}

New Guinea {Kew literature}

Guatemala {Kew literature}

The distribution is over the whole of India, and eastward to Burma. Occasionally cultivated. Lower Guinea in Tropical Africa. Throughout the Malayan region only cultivated or as an escape. Introduced into the Mascarenes, the West Indies, and Brazil. {Elatler and McCann, 1928}

Vetiveria zizanioides is found in the wild form throughout India and IndoChina, and is cultivated throughout southeast tropical Asia, in Algiers, the Mascarene Islands, in the southern states of the United States, the West Indies, and Brazil. Well-known in India since ancient times as an aromatic plant. Only wet roots emit an odor; dry ones are odorless.{?} In India screens, fans, and other articles are made form the roots; when wetted with water they not only cool the air but also make it fragrant. The stem and leaves are used for making ropes, hats, and double mats. Suitable as pulp for paper production. The roots are used for brush manufacture. When young this plant is much liked by cattle, especially buffaloes. In folk medicine it is used to induce sweating and as a stimulating agent. {Roshevits, R.Yu. 1937 (1980 translation). Grasses - an introduction to the study of fodder and cereal grasses. Published for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington, DC by the Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre, New Delhi.}

In Southeast Asia vetiver occurs from sea level to about 1400 m, chiefly as a ruderal {a weedy and commonly introduced plant growing where the natural vegetational cover has been disturbed by man. Webster's 9th} in settled areas, but also in open, wet, or periodically flooded sites in grassland savannah and deciduous forest. Though grazed by buffaloes, plants are too harsh to be particularly valuable as fodder. The aromatic roots are the source of vetiver oil for use in high grade perfumery, and are also woven into fragrant mats, baskets, fans, clothing sachets, and ornaments. The foliage is used for thatching and can be processed for the making of coarse paper-pulp. the species is also an important medicinal plant, and excellent soil binder. To prevent soil erosion, plants are often planted on the dikes of rice paddies, river banks, and similar places. {Lazarides, 1980}

Vetiver is introduced to New Guinea but little used. The roots may be packed with clothes to repel insects. The plant itself is a useful soil binder. {Henty, 1969}

The leaves are too harsh for fodder {Gilliland, 1971}.

The plant in Malaya is a good soil binder {Gilliland, 1971}.

Probably the most important soil-binding grass in Fiji is vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash) which is commonly used on rice bunds for contour lines and for other soil conservation practices.

It was introduced to Fiji in 1907 and grown experimentally before being distributed. It is common in most parts of the colony and used to bind rice bunds. In some areas it has spread to become a weed of roadsides and wasteplaces. {Parham, 1955}

Frequently cultivated in tropical America for hedges and escaped from cultivation in Louisiana. {?} Manual of Grasses of the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington. {Hitchcock, 1980}

Commonly used as a hedge plant in the Meseta Central of Costa Rica, planted along the top of road embankments in a continuous row, to prevent erosion. Usually cultivated, but volunteer colonies, apparently from seed, may be found near cultivated stands. Blooming is rare. It is naturalized to some extent in the southern United States and the Caribbean Islands. Occurs in Honduras and Costa Rica. {Pohl, 1980.}

Commonly cultivated in the West Indies as a hedge plant, and sometimes escaped along roadsides. Preserves clothes from moths. This is the grass that produces the aromatic roots called pacholi or pachuli in Puerto Rico, and is also called cockroach grass. {Hitchcock and Chase, 1917}

Cultivated as a border plant to prevent erosion in Barbados. {Allan, 1957}.

Vetiver nigritana (Benth.) Stapf - from Cook at Kew; check there for more details.

Diarra, 1977: Used for cabin and animal stall roofs and enclosure walls, as well as basketry ....

Dalziel, 1937: Not often distinctly aromatic but probably vary according to habitat; they are eaten by warthogs. Scrubbers.

Holland, 1922: Thatch and fencing.

Baumer, 1975: In Sudan it is eaten by all animals but especially selected by cattle which do not hesitate to enter the waters during the rainy season to browse on it. After a bush fire the regrowth is rapid and the fresh green parts are sought after by animals.

Kew Herbarium Collection: Pritchard, E.E. 49: Not eaten by cattle. If placed in a gourdful of water when travelling the water will stay sweet. Used for windscreens and the doors of byres.

Kew Herbarium Collection: Lawrence, E. 2.: In Nyasaland of Malawi, nigritana is planted as border fences/hedges around fields and also to thatch huts (Namibia too, Kew Herbarium Collection: Rodin, R.J. 9133.)


ROOT: Adventitious roots are produced from teh stems of both aerial and subterranean shoots, and exhibit typically monocot anatomy {Clark and Fisher, 1987}.

CROWN: The vegetative shoot system of the grass plant is iterative and composed of repeating units (phytomers). Lack of secondary growth is correlated with the presence of establishment growth, detemrinate aerial shoots, adventitious roots. {Clark and Fisher, 1987}

STEM/CULM: Culm size and development vary widely, and stem specializations such as rhizomes and stolons are common. Bulbs and corms also occur in some taxa. Branching ranges from simple to complex. Both sympodial and monopodial growth occur, most notably in the rhizomes. Stolons and rhizomes are responsible for the extraordinary capacity for vegetative growth commonly expressed in this family. {Clark and Fisher, 1987}





CROWN: Coarse densely tufted glabrous perennials forming large clumps from stout rhizomes.

STEM/CULM: Basal sheaths laterally compressed and keeled. Culms stout, more or less compressed below. Leaf blades firm to hard. Branches ascending, many, in whorls from the main axis.

PANICLE. Rachises jointed. Racemes fragile.

FLOWER: Glumes equal. Palea very small. All awnless or with very short awns.

GENERIC ASSOCIATIONS: A genus of 9-10 closely allied species from the warmer parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia and but slenderly distinguished from Chrysopogon by the several-jointed racemes. Vetiveria pauciflora S.T. Blake provides a connecting link between the two genera. {Blake, 1944}

Distinguished from Chrysopogon by the absence of a beard of rigid hairs ont he tip of the branchlets, seen after the fall of the spike. {Hooker, 1975}

Vetiveria pauciflora is evidently closely allied to Vetiveria elongata, and if only for this reason, it should be associated generically with it. {Blake, 1944}

Vetiveria intermedia is very close to Vetiveria filipes in technical characters, but a larger and stouter plant with a more rigid inflorescence with stouter and longer branches. It also approaches Vetiveria pauciflora but has longer racemes. {Blake, 1944}

Vetiveria pauciflora by reason of the 1-3 jointed racemes approaches Chrysopogon sylvaticus {and was described as a Chrysopogon}. There is nothing in the structure of the spikelet to separate the two genera, but the facies of the two is rather different. {Blake, 1944}


The Australian species are plants of damp places, commonly of stream banks and flood-flats, where they form dense tussocks. {Blake, 1944}

At least Vetiveria elongata and Vetiveria filipes are eaten by stock, the latter freely so, but the former is rather coarse. The foliage and inflorescence of the species are unscented. {Blake, 1944}


Vetiveria zizanioides: Andropogon, Anatherum, Phalaris

Vetiveria elongata: Holcus, Sorghum, Andropogon, Chrysopogon, Rhaphis

Vetiveria pauciflora: Chrysopogon

Vetiveria filipes: Chrysopogon, Andropogon

Vetiveria nigritana: Andropogon, Mandelorna {invalid genus}

Vetiveria lawsoni: Andropogon

Panicle branched spikelets in pairs distinguishes Vetiveria in key from Chrysopogon. {Elatler and McCann, 1928}.

Spikelets not subtended by bristles; spikelets spindle-shaped, with rows of prickles on the glumes. {Oommachan, n.d.}

Vetiveria zizanioides was placed in the chrysopogons as recently as 1960 {Roberty, Monogr. System. Andropog. Globe. Thesis., from S.A. Renvoize 7/90}


A stout rhizomatous densely tufted tall perennial grass.

ROOT: Rootstock branching with spongy aromatic roots. {Elatler and McCann, 1928}. Roots in vetiver are spongy, aromatic, and give rise to fine rootlets {Sethi et al., 1986}. Root length varies greatly (15-40 cm), with short-rooted cultures giving higher percentage of oil {Sethi et al., 1986}. Another oil contributory character of root is its diameter {Sethi et al., 1986}.

Sout, spongy, aromatic roots.

CROWN: Culms stout, up to over 1.8 m high, usually sheathed all along. Leaf-sheaths compressed, especially the lower which are sharply keeled and fan-like, imbricate, very smooth, firm. Leaves erect, rigid.

STEM/CULM: Vetiveria zizanioides can be distinguished {from other vetivers} by the fact that the tips of the panicle-branches and the callus are glabrous {Blake, 1944}. Two meters or more tall, compressed, glabrous, keeled.

Leaves narrow, erect, keeled, glabrous, margins scabrid.

Culms arising from an aromatic rhizome, stout, up to and over 2 m tall, in dense tufts.

Young culms are solid; older ones develop air cavities by the disintegration of ground tissue {Kammathy, 1968}

Plants of hybrid clone 14 were observed to be dwarf and their height was only 166.9 cm as against 182.9 cm in control {Bajpai, n.d.}.

Leaves: 30-90 cm long by 4-15 mm wide, flat or folded, glabrous but scaberulous on the margins and on the back of midribs. {Gilliland, 1971}

PANICLE: Efflorescence 20-30 cm long, well exserted. {Gilliland, 1971}. Inflorescence a panicle 15-40 cm long of numerous slender racemes in whorls.

FLOWER: Upper floret always male. {Gilliland, 1971}. Flowers July - November in Bhopal {Oommachan, n.d.} Due to presence of hermaphrodite florets (84 percent) and male florets (74 percent) selfing does not take place in this taxon and it is an obligatory cross-pollinated {Sethi, 1982}.

FERTILITY: Vetiveria zizanioides is capable of both vegetative and sexual reproduction in nature, while under cultivation it is generally vegetatively propagated {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}.

Ramanujam and Kumar (1963b) examined spikelet and pollen fertility in 75 clones of Vetiveria zizanioides collected from widely different geographical locations within India. Under New Delhi conditions, 5 clones failed to "flower" (it is unclear if this refers to raceme formation or spikelet formation?). Of the remaining 70 clones, female (pistillate) sterility ranged from 30 percent to 100 percent; male (pollen) sterility ranged from 2 percent to 100 percent. (Pistillate fertility was recorded as twice the number of caryopses in 50 pairs of spikelets collected from the main panicle {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}; it is unclear whether caryopsis germination was tested.) Such a degree of reproductive instability was rather unexpected.

Some of the {70?} accessions, particularly those of South Indian origin, could only be maintained by vegetative methods as they do not produce seeds under natural pollination as well as under controlled, hand pollinated conditions, in spite of high pollen fertility {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}.

Ramanujam and Kumar (1963b) focussed their attention on the potential reason for male pollen sterility. The occurrence of such high degrees of pollen sterility in many of the clones was unexpected since previous reports had given no evidence of any noticeable {cellular/nuclear?} abnormality. The possibility of the pollen sterility being due to cytoplasmic factors could, in most cases, be ruled out by the occurrence, in the progeny of highly pollen sterile clones, of individuals with a high percentage of good pollen. The progeny of highly pollen-sterile clones contained individuals with a high percentage of good pollen {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}. In a nearly completely sterile (_100 percent) clone the nuclei in the pollen mother cells (p.m.c.) showed a tendency to collapse at a stage before the earliest studied here and hence no cytological analysis of this clone was possible {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}. Nonetheless, they were able to raise a progeny (apparently from seed) from this accession, suggesting to them the existence of some form of apomictic {agamospermic) reproduction {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}. The failure to produce normal amounts of pollen is usually a good sign of apomixis {Cronquist, A. 1971. Introductory Botany, 2nd edition. Harper & Row, New York}. Their results yielded some observations consonant with pseudogamous as well as with diplosporic apomicts, or both, although neither process was confirmed. They also speculated on the possibility of a dominant nuclear gene for male sterility; however, in this case extensive cross-pollination could be expected and they noted that other data {Kumar, 1962; Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963d} are not entirely compatible with such a high degree of cross pollination {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}.

Ramanujam and Kumar (1963b) paid particular attention to the microsporogenic phase of meiosis during pollen formation, and attributed a greater part of pollen sterility to observed meiotic irregularities {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}. Univalent formation at diakinesis and metaphase as well as lagging at anaphase, resulting in elimination of chromatin material, was closely correlated with the observed sterility {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}.

Also, no evidence of aneuploidy was found in progeny of clones where micronuclear formation leading to elimination of chromatic material was observed, although they only sampled a few individuals {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}. Lack of aneuploidy was also indicated by the uniformly superior performance of progenies compared to parental clones, and the fact that all chromosome counts on vetiver were 2n=20 {still true} {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963b}.

Kumar (1962) observed that pollen sterility in anthers from male florets appeared to be greater than in anthers from hermaphrodite florets.

VZ ECOLOGY: Common in damp valleys. {Elatler and McCann, 1928}. "Cke. l.c. classes this species amongst non-indigenous plants. We are of the opinion that it is indigenous in most parts of the Presidency. {Elatler and McCann, 1928}.

Vetiver grows almost in all kinds of soil. The grass grows luxuriantly in areas with an annual rainfall of 1000-2000 cm and in temperature ranging from 21.0-43.5_. A rich and marshy soil, combined with a warm and damp climate, results in sturdier growth of the grass with fine matty roots. In some places in Kerala, India, which adjoin the seashores, the grass is cultivated on sand and sandy loam. In Trivandrum, it is grown on light red loam which is admixed with fine gravel, whereas in the Wynaad tract it is grown on a rich, loamy soil {CSIR, 1976}.

Found throughout the plains and lower hills of India, particularly on the river banks and in rich marshy soil, ascending to an altitude of 1,200 m.

In its natural environment in India, vetiver often grows on river-banks up to an altitude of 600 m. It requries a hot and humid climate, it will grow on most soils. {Purseglove, 1985}

Vetiver is grown over wide agro-ecological niches in India.

Wild populations of vetiver were sampled from Bharatpur. Most of these collections were made from low lying tracts and "marshy places" some of which dry up in summer season {Sethi et al., 1986}.

The roots growing in low-lying areas are said to be superior in quality {Singh and Sonkhala, 1957}. These authors further observed that with the decrease in clay content of the soil composition there was a marked improvement in quality of oil but appreciable loss in root yield.

Vetiver inhabits most parts of tropical and subtropical plains of India, Burma, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, ascending up to 1200 m {Sethi et al., 1986}.

In India, it grows wild in South India, Rajasthan, and to some extent in Uttar Pradesh {Bajpai, n.d.}.

Occurs along the banks of forest streams.{Oommachan, n.d.}

The Malayan climate seems to be too wet for a good yield of oil {Gilliland, 1971}.

Cultivated and occurring as an escape in Kedah, Penang, Province Wellesley, Perak, Selangor,

Called "duthie grass" {Hooker, 1975}

Throughout the plains and lower hills of India, Burma, and Sri Lanka, ascending to 1200 m. {Hooker, 1975}

It grows wild under fairly hot as well as damp environments under different soil conditions, ore so in the districts of Bharatpur and Musanagar (flowering types) {Sethi, 1982}. But it is cultivated in small areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh (non-flowering types) {Sethi, 1982}. Vetiver has a wide ecological distribution almost all over the Indian subcontinent {Sethi, 1982}. Vetiver grows under a very wide ecological conditions with a large range of latitude and longitude {Sethi, 1982}. The cultivars adapted to southern India require shorter duration for growth than those adapted to northern India conditions, having cooler environments during certain part of the growing period of the crop. {Sethi, 1982}

This crop is supposed to do well under a wide range of ecological conditions and tremendous variety of environments {Sethi, 1982}. Tested under two sets of environments with special reference to the soil conditions such as normal soils (pH 7.0-8.0) and saline-alkali (pH 8.5-10.5) {Sethi, 1982}. There were significant differences in the over-all performance of hybrids under different environmental conditions but the response of all hybrids was similar over the environments The response was consistent from location to location {Sethi, 1982}.

Because in the tropical climate, temperature is not the limiting factor, it is the rainfall that determines the start and end of the growing season of the crop. {Sethi, 1982}

Vetiver roots distilled earlier were obtained from wild sources and were spread in different areas of the country {Sethi, 1982}. The material obtained from the wild populations used to be heterozygous {Sethi, 1982}.

Vetiver was growing on very barren hillsides in Haryana State. It can become a pest as the dominant plant in an open field. It is hard to get rid of, a good deal like nut till it and resprouts vigorously from crowns. Info from C.J. Fredrickson.

This crop grows in poor soils and under conditions of minimum inputs {Sethi, 1982}.

Indore, India: Climate is semiarid with 750-1000 mm. The soils are 50 percent clay with low organic carbon, nitrogen, and high potash having pH 7.8 and ECe 0.5 m mhols. {Gupta et al., 1983}

The credit for the discovery of apomixis in Granimeae is usually given to M_ntzing, established apomixis in the genus. Cytoembryological investigations of the pollen mother cells meiosis has been studied in 22 species. Vetiveria zizanioides is the only sexual species showing chromosomal irregularities such as univalent formation, laggards, bridge fragment configuration and micronuclei. Fifty percent viable pollen is produced {from what clone!?} {Shanthamma and Narayana, 1976-77}


Considerable variation among the complexes grown in South and North India for complex qualitative and morphological characters {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1964 in Gupta et al., 1983}. Phenotypic correlations.

Phenotypic variances were calculated following Panse and Sukhatme, 1978. {Gupta et al., 1983}

Significant genetic differences between clones {Gupta et al., 1983}. Range of oil percent in dry vetiver roots grown in some countries (Gold Coast, Angola, Brazil, and British Guiana) was 2-4.6 whereas the oil content in vetiver roots from France was only up to 0.25 percent. {Gupta et al., 1983}

According to Rao (1966) there are two main types of vetiver, one seeding and the other non-seeding {Bajpai, n.d.}. The one that grows wild in North India is the seeding type, while that of south is non-seeding. There is also a considerable difference between the North and South India strains {Bajpai, n.d.}. However, the yield of South India types is higher {Bajpai, n.d.}.

There are apparently two types of vetiver: i) flowering, and ii) non-flowering. The wild-growing type, commonly found in North India, is mostly of the former type, whereas in South India both the types are found. Further, two types are distinguishable by their difference in the characters of the stem and root: one type has a medium-thick stem with more branching roots, and the other a thick stem and less branching roots; the latter type is more common {CSIR, 1976}.

In North India, where no systematic cultivation of vetiver is done and only the wild plants are exploited, there is no definite period for harvesting the roots. Since the northern type sets seeds, natural regeneration largely occurs and hence each stand is composed of plants of varying age {CSIR, 1976}.

Two different types of volatile oils are obtained from the roots: a highly laevoratatory oil from the wild roots from North India, and a dextrorotatory oil from the cultivated roots from South India. The oils from the two types differ in aroma and in physical and chemical properties. That these differences were not caused by different environments obtaining in the two regions were shown by the fact that in transplant experiments, these differences were maintained to a large extent. The oil produced form wild roots is called Vetiver (Khus) Oil, whereas that from cultivated roots is designated Oil of Vetiver Roots (Cultivated) {CSIR, 1976}.

The oil from other producing countries are all found to be dextrorotatory and similar to the oil distilled in South India {CSIR, 1976}.

The oil is one of the most complex of the essential oils; its chemistry is very complicated and not yet fully understood. Studies of the oils from various producing regions indicate that all varieties except the North Indian Khus Oil are chemically similar {CSIR, 1976}. {Chemistry given}

In the light of these results, it is opined that the North Indian Khus oil is distinctly different and it is not unlikely that it represents a chemically distinct race or perhaps a distinct species {CSIR, 1976}.

A study of the variability in the two types of oils from wild roots in North India and plantations in South India in respect of a number of quantitative morphological traits, using metroglyph analysis, suggested the existence of two morphologically and biochemically differentiated complexes in the Indian vetiver {CSIR, 1976}. is interesting to note that cultivated types from South India, which have, on the average, higher essential-oil content and higher yield of dry roots than North Indian types also possess wider leaves (1.1 mm [sic; 11mm] vs 0.7 mm) {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963a}


The yound leaves are browsed by cattle and sheep. Analysis of the grass gave the following values (dry basis): crude protein 6.1-6.7 percent; ether extration 1.1-2.1 percent; crude fiber 34.7-42.2 percent; N-free extration 45.0-47.4 percent; total ash 5.3-9.0 percent; calcium 0.28-0.31 percent; and phosphorus 0.05-0.60 percent {CSIR, 1976}.

Studies carried out at Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, have shown that pulps suitable for making straw-boards can be made from teh grass by digestion with lime. The grass has a high content of hemicellulose; its cellulose content is 45.8 percent (dry basis). Pilot-plant trials have indicated that the grass yields a chemical pulp (yield of bleached pulp, 35 percent) that can be used for making writing and printing papers. The pulp is, however, short-fibered and has to be used in admixture with 30-40 percent of a long-fibered pulp {CSIR, 1976}.


In seeding types, introduced into South India, the seeds are sown in the nursery and then [about five months later] transplanted with the onset of premonsoon showers. Propagation from the seed is, however, not commonly practiced {CSIR, 1976}.

Slips are [best] planted in the rainy season just before the onset of the monsoon. Three or four weedings are necessary in the first year and two to three in the second {CSIR, 1976}.

The grass is browsed by cattle in the early stages and requires adequate protection {CSIR, 1976}.


Vetiver is reported to be attacked by Fusarium sp., particularly during the rains. Drenching the soil with one percent Bordeaux mixture or 0.1 percent wet Ceresan is said to reduce the incidence of the disease {CSIR, 1976}.

Curvularia trifolii (Kauf.) Boed. also attacks vetiver, causing leaf-blight; tan to dark spots, which later turn black, are formed. The leaves turn pale yellow and finally dry up. Repeated spraying of copper fungicide (0.3 percent) containing 50 percent metallic copper, at the rate of 560-830 liters, has been found to control the disease {CSIR, 1976}.

The grass is also affected by Gloeocercospora sorghi Bain & Egerton, showing small, diffuse-brown leaf-spots with irregular margins {CSIR, 1976}.

Grubs of Holotrichia serrata F. have been found to infest the roots of vetiver {CSIR, 1976}.


Adaptation of existing vetiver grass {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Emphasis on winter hardiness {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Physiology of vetiver {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Germination ecology/profile of vetiver grass (including pollination) {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Herbicide sensitivity of vetiver grass {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Establishment and maintenance requirements of vetiver {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Shade and water tolerance of vetiver {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Effectiveness of vetiver relative to other grass hedges:

Infiltration and filtration studies

Field effectiveness {USDA, ARS 1990}

Weediness of vetiver {USDA, ARS 1990}.

Exploration of the concept {USDA, ARS 1990}.


Very common in Dharwar district.

ROOT: Rootstock stout, horizontal!


STEM/CULM: Erect, simple, slender, internodes very long. Stem erect from a stout rootstock.









Vetiver nigritana, Ecology from Kew:

Distribution: Senegal, Guinea, Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Niger, Nigeria, Gabon, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Zaire, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Angola.

Tufted perennial grass to 2.5 meters, flowers August to January (Cape Verde, Senegal). Habitat is temporary inundated flood plains. {Adam, 1954}

Grows in water or in wet, usually swampy ground, especially on black turf soil. {Meredith, 1955}

Flood plains and other seasonally flooded places, 0-1100 m. {Clayton, 1982}

Tropical Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, with sporadic records from Malaysia and the Philippines. {Clayton, 1982}

In Sudan nigritana occurs on edaphic grassland subject to various periods and depths of flooding. In Angola it is found in swampland and areas with impeded drainage. In Nigeria (ppt. 750 mm) it occurs in swampland. {Rattray, 1960}

Occurs on alluvial floodplains in Ghana, extending along small seasonal streams and channels in marsh grass and tree savanna, also relict in wet spots in heavily farmed areas. {Innes, 1977}

Flourishes on wet soils. Tolerates, along with Sporobolus robustus, slightly saline soils. {Trochain, 1940}


Australia: Northern Territory and Queensland. Found in fresh water lagoons, the edge of lagoons and {in area} any wet depressions, banks of rivers. Also in New Guinea. {Blake, 1944}







Australia: Northern Territory and Queensland. Banks of rivers on sand.







Australia: Queensland. Sandy banks of channels in the open or in partial shade. Damp shady sandy bank, in sandy soil beside gully in forest country, on shady creek bank, along moist gullies. {Blake, 1944}







Australia: Queensland and New South Wales. River banks, on sand, on plains of the river, on high ground near the creek, drier parts and edge of Melaleuca swamp, beds of creeks, among rocks in dry creek bed, depression in open forest, sloping river bank, gravelly bank of river, shady bank of river. {Blake, 1944}

This grass is often a characteristic feature of the vegetation of stream banks and flood flats and rocky creek beds in open forest country, and is freely eaten by cattle. {Blake, 1944}

"Synonym" Vickery did leaf anatomy under name of Vetiveria elongata. {Blake, 1944}







Ecology from Kew:

Distribution: Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon.

In Mali the roots are used to perfume drinking water. The stems are used to make "seccos". {Diarra, 1977}

Robust perennial to 2 m. Occurs on flood plains. {Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1972}

Occurs on alluvial flood plains. {Innes, 1977}

In Ghana it forms a consocies on the huge area of black clay soils on the plains between Accra and the Volta river and is also dominant on many of the sandy soils in the same area. It is also an important constituent of black clay grassland east of the Volta. {Rattray, 1960}







(Nees ex Steud.) C.E. Hubb. is an outstanding species that occurs in Mauritius and Rodrigues. {Frances Cook.}






Effect of some dominant grasses on the properties of soil subjected to erosional stress. Three grass species, viz. Heteropogon contortus, Vetiveria zizanioides, and Dichanthium annulatum dominant on Vindhyan Hills with high primary production values have been selected presently to test their effectiveness on the conservation of important properties of soils on sloping topography. The grass rhizomes were transplanted on 20_ slopes, prepared in the botanical garden of the Banaras Hindu University. Samples of soils i) with which the slope was constructed; ii) the eroded soil from vegetated and bare plots and the same from the slopes; iii) before; and iv) after the showering of water were collected and analyzed for mechanical composition, water holding capacity, porosity, and field capacity. It was found that these grasses reduced the loss of silt and clay in vegetated slopes as compared to bare on, thus improving the condition of soil advantageous for plant growth. SImilarly other physical properties of soil like the porosity field capacity and water holding capacity were higher in vegetated as compared to bare soil and even improved from the original soil with which the slope was prepared. Chemical analyses for organic matter, nitrogen, and C/N ratio of the soil were also made and it has been observed that in these respects also the vegetated plots had better values. Of the three species, Heteropogon contortus conserves and improves the physical and chemical properties best. {Misra, Ambasht, and Singh, abstract, 1989?}

Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roemer & Schultes (Africa and Madagascar) Good grazing when young but awns with hygroscopic action painful to stock and man; fire-climax vegetation of much of Madagascar. {Mabberley, 1989}

Vetiveria zizanioides in a open-grazed field. In the present case on production, although the number of species is reduced, yet the number of individuals with high photosynthetic capacity increases. This fact of increase in the number of plants per unit area of more efficient species is responsible for a trend reverse to the McNaughton's findings (1967) that diversity decreases efficiency and generates community stability. Thus it is concluded that the functional properties of communities react differently under different situations. {Singh and Ambasht, 1975b}

Under tropical monsoonic climate of India, grasslands are maintained by anthropogenic pressure. Open-grazed areas dominated by vetiver. Located on west bank of Karamnasa river near ... not input {Singh and Ambasht, 1975b}

Correlation studies between shoot and root standing crop of energy in a grassland ecosystem. {Singh and Ambasht, 1981}

Hummocky topography with reddish, sandy to clayey loam of residual type with shallow (1-1.5 m deep) and underlain moraine. Rainy, winter, and summer seasons. 1012 mm rain, mean max from 24-43_, and min 10-29_. {Singh and Ambasht, 1981}

Energy content of the plant material was estimated using an oxygen bomb calorimeter. It is evident that grazing factor has a marked influence on the standing crop of energy of shoots and roots. {Singh and Ambasht, 1981}

Measured total vegetation density, frequency, abundance, basal cover, relative frequency, relative density, relative dominance, and importance value index of species. Floristic composition is one of the major anatomical characters of the plant community. Open grazed dominated by vetiver {Singh and Ambasht, 1980}

Two perennial grasses viz. Desmostachya bipinnata ("Dub") and Vetiveria zizanioides ("Panni") are found as troublesome weeds in Saraswati Forest area in the Karnal district of Haryana State. These grasses when left uncontrolled, grow tall enough to create ample shade preventing normal growth of newly transplanted forest plants. Their intertwining roots and massive rhizome system interferes in the development of roots of forest plantations. If these grasses are not properly controlled, often times the plantations fail.

Vetiveria is a densely tufted perennial grass with branching root stock and aromatic roots. It grows about 1.5-1.8 m tall when fully grown. Desmostachya has marginally shorter top growth but the root system is stouter and thicker than that of vetiver and penetrates quite deep into the soil. In each unit area, both species of grass are found to grow developing an intertwining root system underground.

Besides offering competition for moisture, nutrients, and light to the forest trees, these grasses in the dry season become a source of occasional fire hazard, sometimes devastating large areas. Attempts have been made by cutting and deep plowing to suppress these grasses. However, rapid regrowth of the grasses follows such mechanical operation and offers severe competition in the early growth stages of the forest trees. Grasses growing around the bases of forest trees could only be manually removed which is very expensive and generally not attempted. Plowing increases the population by breaking the large clumps and cutting the rhizomes underground. {Ray et al., 1975}

... the number of plants in the untreated plots had very thick and tall grass cover. It was not possible to clearly distinguish the live underground parts from the dead roots and rhizomes in the treated plots. {Ray et al., 1975}

No attempt has been made (1975) to find out the responsiveness of vetiver to fertilizer application. The study was conducted during 1964-73. It is seen that potash and phosphorus have no significant effect on the yield of vetiver roots. The quantity of oil increased. {Sreedharan and Nair, 1975}

In South India vetiver is grown mostly in Kerala and in parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The local varieties grown in South India are not high yielding types {Nair et al., 1982}.

The percentage of essential oil has medium degree of heritability but is more reliable than the heritability character of root yield. {Ramanujam and Kumar, 1963a}

The aerial shoot of the plant was cut thrice (at third, sixth, and ninth month after transplanting) to generate more root growth {Nair et al., 1982}.

Two sprayings with Bordeaux mixture were given to control leaf spot disease {Nair et al., 1982}.

... two applications of foliar spray of endrin 20 [email protected] 0.02 percent as a precautionary measure against white ants {Bajpai, n.d.}.

Hybrids between North Indian and South Indian types have physicochemical properties in-between the two types {Nair et al., 1982}.

Essential oils, to which the odor of the plant materials are due, may be defined as mixture of volatile organic compounds, immiscible with water but soluble in alcohol, ether, fatty oils, and mineral oils. As a rule, they are not oily to the touch and leave no permanent greasy spot. All distinctly aromatic plants contain essential oils. They occur in about sixty plant families {Manzoor-i-Khuda, 1984}.

Vetiver oil has a very low moisture content, less than 40 percent {Manzoor-i-Khuda, 1984}.

The roots yield a thick mobile fragrant essential oil with excellent fixative properties. Demand is met by distilling wild populations growing in north-western India, which are gradually dwindling. In addition a large part of the oil is obtained from cultivations scattered to small holding in states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu in South India. It is widely known that oil originating from northwest India is different both in quality and oil content from the cultivated ones from peninsular India. Further preliminary studies made on the species have shown differences in plant growth, flowering behavior, and root yield. {Sethi et al., 1986}

It was observed that the heavy roots in weight yielded more oil content than the lighter ones {Bajpai, n.d.}.

Kundu has suggested that the contribution of litter to plant nutrition at the onset of monsoon compared to microbial biomass for the dry tropica forest and savanna ecosystems is larger than we reported {TK:Nature 338:499-500} We still believe that most of the nutrients needed to initiate plant growth at the onset of the rainy season in these ecosystems probably comes from mineralization of microbial cells instead of decmoposing litter. Plant growth and foliage expansion in nutrient-por, dry tropical ecosystems occur rapidly at the start of the rainy season. Because of the lack of any conspicuous time-lag, substantial plant biomass develops within the first 2-3 weeks. {Raghubanshi et al, 1990}

Vetiver may be appropriately used in specific situations {what are those?}. Some negative experience is reported from central and west Java where it was planted as contour grass strips. However, a cash value became apparent because of the fragrant roots. The harvesting of the roots resulted in a series of trenches across the landscape which subsequently eroded. This became such a severe problem in parts of Java that some fifteen years ago a number of provinces passed laws prohibiting the growing of vetiver grass. Larry Hamilton.

Haiti: Mass of information - highly site specific.

Road to Cap Haitien.

Strips in the cuts.

Incredible, the terrace effects.

Hasn't been cropped.

On side of roads.

Cut them to foot{?}


worked ... minute you remove it the banks down.

vetiver can withstand; animals eat leucaena

Clifford Bellande

Peter Welle

So easy to propagate

drought hardy

leave slips out

Stays in place

Minimum maintenance

little wide {?}

walk over vetiver, leucaena leave a gap

South part use vetiver - big export

Northern part leave it in place, use it in conservation.


Indian oil has a very high content of vetiveryl esters in natural state {Arctander, 1960}.

It is indispensable in odors of the heavier, oriental type {CSIR, 1976}.

The yield from the cultivated crop meets only a very small percentage of the requirements for vetiver oil {CSIR, 1976}.

The prospects for new producers [of vetiver oil] can only be described as poor, the existing producers being more than capable of meeting any likely level of demand in the foreseeable future. {ITC, 1986}

The use of vetiver roots as base material for the extraction of vetiver oil has always posed a vague threat during consideration to use vetiver grass for vegetative soil and moisture conservation. General demand for the oil is declining, [and thus] it can be safely assumed that the potential for secondary benefits, i.e, uprooting the grass for the production of vetiver oil, will not pose a serious constraint on the introduction of the grass for vegetative soil and moisture conservation measures. Info from L.J. van Veen.

General demand for vetiver oil shows annual fluctuations but has a declining trend, and present producers of the oil will be able to meet any likely demand in the foreseeable future. Because of this it seems very unlikely that vetiver hedges newly planted for soil and moisture conservation will be uprooted by its users in a later stage for the production of vetiver oil. Hence in the opinion of the author this aspect does not pose a serious constraint on the continued introduction of vetiver grass for vegetative soil and moisture conservation. Info from L.J. van Veen.

The separation of the oil form the distilled water is a time-consuming and cumbersome process {CSIR, 1976}.

Besides the Oil, roots from North India have been found to yield fructose, glucose, sucrose and glycerol. This is the first report of the occurrence of free glycerol in plant and its presence is of considerable biological significance {CSIR, 1976}.

Check hedge technology synopsis from Germany.