This species is very closely related to Ceylon citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), and the two species have sometimes been treated as different forms of the same species, as Cymbopogon nardus mahapengiri (this species) and Cymbopogon nardus lenabatu (Ceylon citronella)[
Cymbopogon nardus mahapengiri (L.) Rendle
Common Name: Java Citronella
Photograph by: Leoadec
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Java citronella is a robust, aromatic, evergreen, perennial, clump-forming grass with numerous erect culms arising from a short rhizome. The culms can be up to 2.5 metres tall[
The plant is often cultivated, mainly in Java and other parts of southeast Asia, for the essential oil contained in its leaves. This oil is widely used in the perfumery industry. This species yields up to twice as much essential oil as the related C. nardus (which is grown mainly in Sri Lanka), and the oil is of better quality[
Only known from cultivation.
Not known in a truly wild situation.
|Other Uses Rating||
A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 16 - 36°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 2,200mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 4,100mm[
Grows best in a dry to moist, well-drained soil and a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.3 - 8[
The first cutting is usually taken 180 - 270 days after planting, subsequent harvesting is done every 90 - 120 days and the crop last for 4 - 5 years, as yields steadily decline[
Average yields of essential oil is usually between 45 - 110 kg/ha[
Poultices of the leaves are used to treat minor cuts and bruises[
Extracts (the essential oil or a tea?[
]) are used as a vermifuge and treatment for internal disorders[
]. They are mildly astringent and stomachic[
The plant is sometimes used to control erosion or to provide mulch[
An essential oil is extracted from the leaves[
]. It is widely used in perfumery products and cosmetics, either directly or as a starting material for the production of other aroma compounds[
The complete oil is mainly used as an insect repellent for humans and pets and is used in soaps, detergents, household insecticides and technical products[
The leaves 0.25 - 1.3% citronella oil, which is an almost colourless or pale yellow liquid, with a fresh and sweet rosy top note, a body with notes of rose and lemon and a sweet, somewhat woody dry-out. It is free of the camphene-borneol notes characteristic of Ceylon citronella oil (C. nardus)[
]. The major chemical components of the oil are citronellal, geraniol, elemol, geranyl acetate, limonene, 'BETA'-elemene, citronellyl acetate and eugenol[
A preparation of crude citronella oil, mixed with the leaves of neem (Azadirachta indica) and the rhizomes of galangal (Alpinia galanga) is applied as a bio-insecticide in vegetable production and in citrus orchards[
Seed - this is often not formed. Seedlings should not be used, other than in breeding programmes, since they are likely to be inferior to the parent plant in essential oil production.
Division of the clumps is very easy, with the divisions rooting quickly and forming new stems within a month[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.