Chrysopogon zizanioides

Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty, Bull                                     

Family       :   Poaceae 

Common Name : രാമച്ചം(Mal)

                                 Cuscus grass (Eng)


Khas is a perennial bunchgrass, and grows to 1.5 m tall and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver's roots grow downward, 2 m to 4 m in depth. The vetiver bunch grass has a gregarious habit and grows in clusters. Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost and wildfire resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressureThey can survive deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months. The leaves of vetiver are a useful byproduct to feed cattle, goats, sheep and horses. Khus is also used as a flavoring agent, usually as khus syrup. In the Indian Subcontinent, khus (vetiver roots) is often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers.

Perennial herbs; culms to 180 cm high, erect, tufted; nodes glabrous. Leaves 30-60 x 0.4 - 1 cm, linear or linear-lanceolate, convolute, glaucous; sheaths to 30 cm long, keeled; ligules membranous. Panicles 15-37 cm long; pyramidal, contracted; racemes to 14 cm long, whorled. Spikelets in pairs, dissimilar. Sessile spikelets 3-5 mm long, lanceolate; lower glume 3-4 mm long, lanceolate, coriaceous, spinulose; upper glume 3-5 mm long, lanceolate; coriaceous; lower floret empty; upper floret bisexual; first lemma 3-4 x 1-2 mm, elliptic, second lemma 2-3 mm long, oblong; palea c. 2 mm long, oblong, hyaline. Stamens 3. Ovary elliptic.


The plant is sometimes grown as a hedge and is useful in dryland restoration to reduce soil erosion.


India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka

Flowering & Fruiting :