Cymbopogon citratus

(Click image to Enlarge)

Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

  • Botanical Name : Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf
  • Synonyms : Andropogon citratus DC.
  • Common Name : Lili Cha, Lemon Grass
  • Plant Family : Poaceae (Gramineae)
  • According to the Rules of ICBN the names of the families should end in -aceae. Thus the new name for the family Gramineae became Poaceae. However, the name Gramineae is also exempted and conserved under 'NominaConservanda' because of their constant use for a long time.

  • Plant Form : Grasses
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 6, 12, 13, 16, 20, 24
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Gujarat Forestry Research Foundation, Indroda Park, Ayurvedic Udyan, Van Chetana Kendra, Basan

About Cymbopogon citratus Plant :

  • Habit : A tall perennial herbs.
  • Stem : A short, oblique, annulate, springly branched rhizome, usually barren, but occasionally giving rise to a stout erect culm upto over 1.8 m high, 7-8 noded and simple below the panicle.
  • Leaves :
    • Leaf blades linear 90 cm long by 16-18 mm wide, very firm, glaucous-green, glabrous, smooth or more or less rough upwards and along the margins; midrib somewhat stout below, whitish on the upper side; lateral nerves 4-6 on each side.Ligules very short, scarious, rounded or truncate.
    • Sheaths terete.
  • Inflorescence :
    • Spatheate panicle decompound to subdecompound, loose 30 to over 60 cm long, nodding; internodes 4 to over 6.
    • Spatheoles very narrow, linear-lanceolate, 14-18 mm long, acute or finely acuminate.
    • Peduncles 6-10 mm long, glabrous.
    • Racemes 2-nate, 14-25 mm long, pale.
  • Flowers :
    • Homogamous pair of spikelets 1 at the base of the sessile raceme.
    • Fertile spikelets linear to linear-lanceolate, acutely acuminate, 5-6 mm long, reddish, glabrous, callus short, obtuse, minutely bearded.
    • Involucral glumes subequal, lower subchataceous, slightly depressed towards the base, keels acute, scaberulous above, intracarinal nerve 0 or 1, short or distinct, upper boat-shaped.
    • Lower floral glume hyaline, linear-oblong, sub 2-nerved, slightly shorter than the involucral glumes, upper narrowly linear, acute about 4 mm long, awnless.
    • Anthers 2 mm long.
    • Pedicelledspikelets male or neuter, linear to subulate-lanceolate; lower involucral glume 5-9-nerved, upper 3-nerved; lower floral glume shorter to much shorter than the involucral glumes, hyaline, ciliolate, upper very narrowly linear, nerveless if present at all.
  • Flowering and fruiting Time : October
  • Significance :
    • It is chiefly used for flavouring soups and curries.
    • An infusion of the grass is sometimes taken as a refreshing beverage and this use gives it the name Lilicha or green tea.
    • This grass is generally used in the form of an infusion.