If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Tropical Plants

Cymbopogon martini sofia

Bruno.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Gingergrass

No Image.

General Information

Gingergrass is a perennial, tufted, aromatic grass with numerous erect culms arising from a short, stout, woody 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.
]. The stems are up to 3 metres tall[
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.
].
The plant has been gathered from the wild since antiquity, and this method still produces an important portion of the essential oil. However, the plant has also been cultivated since the beginning of the 20th Century in India[
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.
]. Gingergrass oil will probably remain mainly of local importance only in India[
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.
].

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 - Indian subcontinent.

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height3.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Gingergrass is a plant of the semi-arid to moist tropical and subtropical lowlands[
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.
]. It occurs naturally and in cultivation in India from 12 - 32N and has been grown successfully from between the latitudes of 5 - 32° on either side of the equator[310. It is grown at elevations between 150 - 1,200 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.
]. It can succeed with an annual rainfall below 600 mm, but requires about 750 mm annual rainfall for a reasonable single harvest and at least 1500 mm if it is to be harvested more frequently[
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.
]. It prefers warm and sunny conditions with average daily temperatures of 20 - 25°c; temperatures of 25 - 30°c for extended periods can significantly reduce yields and suppress flowering[
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.
]. Frost causes damage at all growth stages and at higher elevations aboveground plant parts may die back during the cool season[
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.
]. Even slight frost at harvesting can be devastating and may reduce yields by half[
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.
].
In its natural habitat this species grows on poor, often slightly alkaline soils (pH 7.5 - 8.5) of sandy-loamy to loamy texture. Soils rich in organic matter and nitrogen are reported to yield high quality oil. It can also succeed on slightly saline soils[
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.
]. In cultivation, fertile well-drained soils of pH 6 - 7 are considered optimum. On alkaline soils (pH 8.5 or higher) growth and yields are reduced, but oil quality is not affected[
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.
]. Gingergrass does not tolerate acid soils but is fairly tolerant of prolonged periods of heavy rain that saturate the soil and also of imperfectly drained soils.
Long days seem to favour oil production, both in quantity and in geraniol content[
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.
].
There are two forms of this species and these hybridize spontaneously in the wild wherever their habitats overlap. They are very similar to look at but differ considerably in the essential oil they produce:-
Var sofia. Known as Gingergrass or Sofia. A tetraploid form, the essential oil has a turpentine-like aroma and a geraniol content of up to 65%[
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.
]. It grows in dense masses; its habitat is wetter and less sunny[
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.
].
Var martini. Known as Palmarosa or Motia. A diploid form, the essential oil has a floral rosy smell and a geraniol content of up to 95%[
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.
]. It grows in scattered patches; habitat dry and sunny[
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.
]. See the separate record for more information on this plant.
It grows naturally in round clumps or tussocks, sometimes forming continuous closed stands of several hectares[
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.
]. It is strongly cross-pollinated and wild stands are highly variable. Oil yield and geraniol content are highest under long days[
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.
].
New plantations should be weeded several times, but an established crop quickly smothers most weeds after being harvested. Yields tend to decline rapidly if the plants are not fertilized regularly[
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.
].
Plants should be harvested when they are flowering, the oil content of the flowers is highest after opening and drops dramatically after flowering[
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.
].
The first harvest can be taken about 6 months after planting; the number of subsequent harvests per year depends on temperature and water availability with up to 4 harvests per year possible in some areas[
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.
].
The time of harvesting affects oil yield and quality. Harvesting during the rainy season gives high herbage and oil yields, but low geraniol content, while during the dry season herbage and oil yield are lower and geraniol content higher[
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.
].
The height of cutting is generally 20 cm above the ground. Cutting high leaves a substantial stubble, so reducing the cost of harvesting and distillation, but cutting low stimulates regrowth of the crop[
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.
].
Well managed plantations produce annual herbage yields of 10 - 15 t/ha, giving 50 - 100 kg oil. Improved cultivars may yield up to 25 t/ha of herbage producing 150 kg oil[
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.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant is grown extensively to control erosion on erodible hillsides and to stabilize edges of terraces and gullies[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is grown extensively to control erosion on erodible hillsides and to stabilize edges of terraces and gullies[
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, called gingergrass oil, is obtained from the flowering tops of the plant[
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.
]. It was once a popular perfumery material for rose compounds, particularly in soaps, but lost its popularity due to frequent adulteration[
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.
]. It is now mainly applied in the soap and detergent industry in India[
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.
].
All aboveground parts of the plant contain essential oil, the oil content of the flowers being higher than that of the stems and leaves. The oil content in high-yielding selections grown under optimum conditions can reach 0.5 - 1.5%; the average yield from traditional stills, however, is only 0.2 - 0.3% (both on a fresh weight basis)[
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.
].
Gingergrass oil has a harsher aroma than palmarosa, being turpentine-like, somewhat fatty, herbal and cumin-like odour with a rose nuance and woody undertone[
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.
]. The chemical composition of gingergrass oil is characterized by high proportions of limonene, p-mentha-1(7),8-dien-1-ol (trans-isoperillyl alcohol), p-mentha-2,8-dien-1-ol, carveol and carvone[
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 - on a small scale the seed is sown in trays, on a larger scale it can be sown in nursery beds. Only just cover the seeds and make sure it does not dry out. The tiny seeds are often mixed with fine sand to obtain even distribution, and the mixture is then beaten to detach the glumes and improve germination rates. Healthy seed germinates 10 - 20 days after sowing and seedlings are ready for transplanting in 6 - 8 weeks when 15 - 20 cm tall[
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.
]. The plant grows vigorously, so seedlings should be planted singly[
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.
].
Care should be taken to use pure seed of var. sofia, in particular in India and Pakistan where natural stands often are mixtures of var. martini and var. sofia[
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 by offshoots and cuttings is also possible, but there are indications that seedlings yield more herbage and oil[
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.
].

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.