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Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Serai wangi or citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) is a plant species in Poaceae, perennial, growing in clumps, up to 2 meters tall, has many fibrous roots, very well-known as a spice in Asian cuisine, herbal teas, citronella oil and pharmaceutical ingredients.

C. nardus has large fibrous roots, short rhizomes and radiates scent. Stems erect or tilted, clustered, bulbous, soft, hollow, green to purplish red and whitish hair. The contents of the stem are tubers and are yellowish white or purplish or reddish white.

Dlium Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus)


Ribbon-shaped leaves, thin as paper, curved like grass with a length of up to 1 meter and a width of 1-2 cm, getting to the tip more pointed, green, a large linear bone in the middle, rough surface, hair, sharp margins and smell citrus if squeezed.

Flowers in panicles are red, grow at the tip, five petals which metamorphose into two palea units and a lemma, the crown metamorphoses into two lodic glands to open flowers in the morning. Three to six stamens, open lengthwise, a pair of pistil-shaped heads with a crested-shaped extension.

Flower stalks have a height of up to 2 meters, red covered with protective leaves and usually white. The protective leaves metamorphose into sterile and fertile glums. The fruit is grain shaped, red, elongated, flat ventral dorso and half the seed embryo.

Citronella grass grows wild in the tropics and requires a lot of sun at an altitude of 200-1200 m with an ideal 250-600 m, temperatures 23-30C, rainfall 1000-1500 mm/year with a dry season 4-6 months, distribution of rain 10 months and soil pH 6.0-7.5.



Citronella is widely cultivated for essential oils which contain 30-45% citronellal, geraniol 65-90%, citronellol 11-15%, geranil acetate 3-8%, citronelyl acetate 2-4%, citral, cavikol, eugenol, elemol, cadinol , kadinen, vanilin, limonene and kamfen. The main and most important ingredients are citronellal and geraniol.

Serai wangi is used as a flavor generator in food and drinks, sauces, sweets, meat and fat. Use in the perfume industry mostly consists of citral for the production of α and β ionons which are used as scented ingredients in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and mosquito repellents.

The leaves are used to kill cancer cells, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, treat infections of the stomach, intestines, bladder tract, heal wounds, carminative, stomacic, post-partum, fever and antispasmodic. The root is used as a phlegm thinner, mouthwash, diaphoretic and body warmer.

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Angiospermae
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Cymbopogon
Species: Cymbopogon nardus

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