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Chrysopogon zizanioides


Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty

Family Name: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Synonyms: Vetiveria arundinacea, Vetiveria muricata, Vetiveria odorata, Vetiveria zizanioides
Common Name: Vetivergrass


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Grass or Grass-like Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Grassy
Maximum Height 2.4 m


Native Distribution India
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial grass that forms dense, erect clumps.
Roots Fibrous roots are long and white. When crushed, they emit a somewhat earthy, sandalwood-like fragrance.
Foliage Narrow, linear leaves (25 - 50 cm long, 1 cm wide) are held erect. The leaves are tightly folded together, forming a V-shape in cross-section. The inner surface of the leaf (when the leaf is opened and flattened) is mostly covered by thin, parallel, white bands and has a green margin. They are held erect, but often bent backwards at a sharp angle near the tip.
Stems It has an underground, horizontal stem known as a rhizome. The rhizome is composed of small, barrel-shaped segments and resembles a ginger rhizome (commonly called a root).
Flowers It forms narrow panicles.
Cultivation This species can tolerate occasional flooding.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: Oil extracted from the roots is used in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac, antiseptic or sedative.
Others: It has phytoremediation potential, because it accumulates pollutants such as lead, arsenic, zinc, copper and petroleum hydrocarbons. In tropical climates, it is used for screening and to prevent soil erosion. Oil extracted from the roots is used in 90% of Western perfumes including the famous Chanel No. 5. The roots are woven together to make mats, baskets and screens which become fragrant when moistened.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses General, Groundcover, Slope Stabilization

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Rootzone Tolerance Waterlogged Soils


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Green - Bluish Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Clasping

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Purple, Silver / Grey
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Panicle


References Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 29359
Species ID 3668
Flora Disclaimer 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.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.