Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf
|Andropogon citriodorum, Acroceras citratus
|Serai, West Indian Lemon Grass, Oil Grass, Fever Grass, Serai Makan, Sereh Makan, Lemongrass, 柠檬草, 柠檬香茅, 香茅草
Classifications and Characteristics
|Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
|Plant Growth Form
|Grass & Grass-like Plant (Tall Grass (Poaceae))
|Lifespan (in Singapore)
|Mode of Nutrition
|0.6 m to 1.2 m
|Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width
|0.6 m to 0.9 m
|Terrestrial (Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
|Preferred Climate Zone
|Local Conservation Status
|Of Uncertain Origin
Description and Ethnobotany
|Clump-forming grass up to 1.2 m tall or 2m tall when in flower.
|Leaf blades are light green and strap-shaped (up to 0.9 m long, 2.5 cm wide). Crushed leaves exude a lemony scent.
|A pseudostem formed from tightly-overlapping leaf sheaths on non-flowering shoots is 12-25 cm long and 1-2 cm across, bulbous and thickening towards base of plant. It is fragrant when crushed and yellowish-brown or reddish.
|Numerous brownish florets held on compound drooping panicles up to 0.5 m across, rarely produced in cultivation.
|Spikelets with hairy awns, rarely observed.
|Native to grasslands of tropical Asia, now found only in cultivation.
|Fast grower. Prefers moist, well-drained loamy soils, but will tolerate most other soil types. If grown in containers, plant needs to be divided and separated regularly. Propagate by division, rhizomes and pseduostems (which can be rooted in water before planting out).
|Genus epithet 'Cymbopogon' means 'boat' (kymbe) and 'beard' (pogon) in Greek, referring to the boat-shaped flower spathes and hairy fruit spikelets typical of this genus. Species epithet 'citratus' means resembling Citrus, a reference to the lemony scent produced by parts of the plant.
|Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Herb and Spice): The crushed stalk produces a lemony flavor which is used in a variety of Southeast Asian dishes, such as curries, seafood, poultry dishes, and soups like Tom Yam Soup. Lemongrass is especially popular in Thailand, Vietnam, Laotia and Cambodia.
Medicinal: Leaves can be boiled to make a refreshing tea to relieve stomach cramps, flatulence, colic and other digestive problems. Leaf paste is applied as a poultice on joints to treat rheumatism and on the forehead to relieve headaches and fever. Roots are consumed to induce sweating and improve urine flow. Leaves can be placed in bathwater to treat cuts and wounds, reduce swelling, improve blood circulation and remove body odour.
Others: Essential oils extracted from the leaf stalk is used in perfumes, cosmetics, skin care and aromatherapy products.
|Often planted in home and economic gardens for culinary purposes. Can also be used as ornamental grass along sunny borders and walkways for its graceful arching leaves.
|Desirable Plant Features
|Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant (Foliage)
|Container Planting, General, Flowerbed / Border
|Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden, Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
|Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks
|Leaf edges may be sharp.
Plant Care and Propagation
|Plant Growth Rate
|Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow, Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
|Storage Organ, Division, Stem Cutting
|Propagation Method Remarks
|Fresh stalks available in local markets can be rooted in water.
|Mature Foliage Colour(s)
|Green - Light Green
|Mature Foliage Texture(s)
|Prominent Young Flush Colour(s)
|Simple / Unifoliate
|Foliar Arrangement Along Stem
|Foliar Attachment to Stem
|Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
|Foliar Apex - Tip
|Typical Foliar Area
|Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
|Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio
|3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)
Non - Foliar and Storage
|Stem Type & Modification
|Underground (Fibrous Root)
Fruit, Seed and Spore
|Mature Fruit Colour(s)
|Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Caryopsis / Grain
|The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.