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Useful Tropical Plants

Cymbopogon flexuosus

(Nees ex Steud.) W.Watson

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Andropogon ampliflorus Steud.

Andropogon flexuosus Nees ex Steud.

Andropogon nardus flexuosus (Nees ex Steud.) Hack.

Cymbopogon travancorensis Bor

Common Name: East Indian Lemongrass

Cymbopogon flexuosus
Line drawing of the plant - Fig 1 - 7 only
Photograph by: Flora of China Illustrations vol. 22, fig. 881, 1-7
Creative Commons License

General Information

East Indian lemongrass is an aromatic, evergreen, clump-forming perennial grass producing numerous, erect stems up to 3 metres tall from a short, thick rhizome[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
East Indian lemongrass is one of the two main sources of lemongrass essential oil. The plant is often cultivated, both in gardens and commercially, for this oil which has a multitude of uses as a food flavouring, in perfumery, medicinal etc[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

E. Asia - southwest China, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand.

Habitat

Grassy slopes below 1,000 metres in southern China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Fields, roadsides, in mixed deciduous, dipterocarp and teak forest, often on limestone, and on slopes and ridges at elevations of 100 - 2,200 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height3.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist to wet lowland tropics and subtropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 13 - 34°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,100mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. In areas with a cool season, the plant can die back above ground and perennate through its rhizomes; resuming growth with the return of the warm weather[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Prefers a moisture-retentive soil in full sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Requires a well-drained soil, preferring a fertile, sandy loam[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A first harvest can be taken at about 90 - 120 days after planting out, and thereafter every 40 - 55 days for about 6 years[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Average yield is about 20 - 40 kg oil/ha/year[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Yield of foliage is higher on fertile heavy soils, but under these conditions the oil usually has a lower citral content[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
In commercial production only selected plants are allowed to flower for seed production because profuse flowering prior to cutting substantially reduces oil yield[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Lemongrass should be stored separately from other foods, or should be well wrapped, otherwise its strong scent will taint the other foods[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

An essential oil obtained from the plant is highly aromatic with a lemon-like aroma and flavour. It is often used by the food industry as a flavouring in foods such as ice creams, baked goods, oils, candies, chewing gum etc[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The dried leaves are often used as an aromatic herb tea[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

A row of lemongrass plants can be used as a divider in the garden - it can help to contain more invasive plants such as sweet potato, and also as a barrier to prevent weeds growing into the garden[
296
Title
Tropical Food Gardens
Publication
 
Author
Norrington. L.
Publisher
Bloomings Books (Melbourne)
Year
2001
ISBN
1-876473-41-x
Description
Excellent little book giving some basic information on a range of plants.
]. The plant is also used to control soil erosion[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

An essential oil extracted from the leaves has a wide range of applications, being used in perfumes, soaps, detergents etc[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The oil is a yellow or amber-coloured, somewhat viscous liquid with a strong, sweet, fresh-grassy, citral and lemon-like, herbaceous or tea-like odour. The main chemical constituent of the oil is citral, which is a mixture of the stereoisomers geranial (50%) and neral (30%); minor components include limonene, linalool, geraniol and myrcene[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow or only just cover, sowing the seeds in a nursery seedbed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots at the 3 - 4 leaf stage and grow on until large enough to plant out. Seed can also be sown in situ, but this often results in heavy weed infestation[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Division of established clumps. This is best done annually or they can become too crowded and suffer. The offshoots of this species often fail to establish[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

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