Vetiveria zizanioides

Poaceae

Vetiver or vetiver grass (Chrysopogon aka Vetiveria zizanioides) is a non-native tufted perennial in the Poaceae. It is native to India. Culms erect, 1-3 m tall. Leaves basal and cauline; blades elongate, to 8 dm long, thick, usually conduplicate basally, splitting along midrib apically, pubescent basally, sometimes purple, margins revolute, uppermost usually with vitreous spines; sheaths glabrous; ligule a fringe of hairs, 0.3-1 mm long. Inflorescence of rames but overall it looks like an open panicle, rames numerous, racemose, usually purple; rachis disarticulating at base of sessile spikelet. Spikelets paired (1 sessile and perfect, the other pedicellate and neuter or staminate), dorsally compressed, 2-floreted (upper floret perfect or staminate, lower floret neuter or staminate). Sessile spikelet ca 5 mm long; glumes acuminate, coriaceous, nerveless, ca 5 mm long, vitreous, papillose spinose; lemmas acuminate, purple tinged, apex scarious, margins scarious, inrolled, softly ciliate, ca 3.5 mm long; paleas scarious, ca 2 mm long, margins inrolled; caryopsis not seen. Pedicellate spikelet slightly smaller than sessile spikelet. There is a vetiver organization: https://www.gulfbase.org/organization/vetiver-network-international. Also a book on vetiver titled “Vetiver grass, a thin green line against erosion”. Vetiver grass is grown for many purposes. The plant helps to stabilize soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favorable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics, aromatherapy, herbal skincare and ayurvedic soap. Its fibrous properties make it useful for handicrafts, ropes and more. Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Vetiver's roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2 meters (7 ft) to 4 meters (13 ft), which is deeper than some tree roots. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks and protects soil from sheet erosion. We visited the Belize Spice farm and botanic garden in 2019 and they had lots of vetiver planted and trimmed as a hedge (https://belizespicefarm.com/). Note how their sign has zizanioides spelled as zizapioides. I inherited a number of plants that I propagated and used to make a labyrinth and now have quite a few plants. Most of the plants in the United States are traced back to Sunshine, Louisiana where a lot of it was grown and New Orleans is also noted for vetiver for perfume making.