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Chrysopogon zizanioides (Vetiver)

Kus-Kus, Cuscus, Vetiver , Vetiveria zizanioides

Chrysopogon zizanioides, Kus-Kus, Cuscus, Vetiver , Vetiveria zizanioides, Perennial grass, Edible grass

Chrysopogon zizanioides (Vetiver) is a warm season, perennial bunchgrass with erect culms, up to 8 ft. tall (180 cm), arising from aromatic rhizomes. The leaves are narrow, erect, stiff, up to 10 ft. long. Panicles of brownish-purple flowers, 6 in. long (15 cm), with awnless spikelets appear in summer. The root system is incredibly massive and can reach depths of over 10 ft. (3 m). There are two types of Vetiver: an infertile domesticated type (Sunshine) and a fertile wild type. The fertile wild type is a problematic invasive species that is listed as invasive in China, Fiji, Costa Rica, Anguilla and the Philippines. The domesticated type has many uses. It is an excellent option for soil and water conservation, thanks to its dense root system. As a result, it can be used as a dense hedge to control erosion. Vetiver is also used for wastewater treatment and rehabilitation of old mines. It has a high tolerance to most heavy metals and an ability to remove from soil and water large quantities of excess nitrates, phosphates and farm chemicals. Vetiver is cultivated for the oil extracted from its aromatic roots. About 90% of all western perfumes contain vetiver oil, including the famous French perfume, Chanel No. 5. Its essential oil is an ingredient in pharmacological and cosmetic products. Finally, Vetiver is used in traditional medicine and as insect repellent.

  • Grows up to 4-8 ft. tall (120-240 cm) and 4-6 ft. wide (120-180 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade in a wide variety of soil conditions. Vetiver is very tolerant of disturbance including grazing, fire, floods, salt and drought.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for rootknot nematodes, stem borers, leaf blight.
  • Native to Asia, Chrysopogon zizanioides is widely introduced and cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Requirements

Hardiness 8 - 10
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Common names Cuscus, Vetiver
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 4' - 8'
(120cm - 240cm)
Spread 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 8 - 10
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Common names Cuscus, Vetiver
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 4' - 8'
(120cm - 240cm)
Spread 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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