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 is an aromatic, evergreen, clump-forming perennial grass producing numerous, erect stems up to 3 metres tall from a short, thick rhizome[
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[
E. Asia - southwest China, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand.
Grassy slopes below 1,000 metres in southern China[
]. Fields, roadsides, in mixed deciduous, dipterocarp and teak forest, often on limestone, and on slopes and ridges at elevations of 100 - 2,200 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
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[
]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,100mm[
]. 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[
Prefers a moisture-retentive soil in full sun[
]. Requires a well-drained soil, preferring a fertile, sandy loam[
]. Plants are tolerant of moderately saline soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6[
A first harvest can be taken at about 90 - 120 days after planting out, and thereafter every 40 - 55 days for about 6 years[
Average yield is about 20 - 40 kg oil/ha/year[
]. Yield of foliage is higher on fertile heavy soils, but under these conditions the oil usually has a lower citral content[
]. Annual yields of selected cultivars can be 250 kilos per hectare.
In commercial production only selected plants are allowed to flower for seed production because profuse flowering prior to cutting substantially reduces oil yield[
Lemongrass should be stored separately from other foods, or should be well wrapped, otherwise its strong scent will taint the other foods[
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[
The dried leaves are often used as an aromatic herb tea[
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[
]. The plant is also used to control soil erosion[
An essential oil extracted from the leaves has a wide range of applications, being used in perfumes, soaps, detergents etc[
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[
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[
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[
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