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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