Botanist's Glossary

Vetiver - Vetiveria zizanoides

  • Description
    • Vetiver is a grass (Poaceae family) native to India, Ceylon and Burma, and now naturalized in many tropical and subtropical regions. It is a tall perennial grass that forms wide clumps and has numerous, off-white, fragrant roots that go down to a depth of over 3 meters. For this reason, vetiver is often used in erosion control.
  • Traditions
    • In addition to its many cosmetic uses in the regions where vetiver grows - where the roots are steeped in water for ceremonies and festivities - the plant is also known for its insect-repelling action. In Java, fragrant mats are made with vetiver roots, which keep away parasites.
  • Properties
    • An essential oil is extracted from the strong, white and aromatic vetiver roots. It is very popular in perfumery due to its soft scent and woody, earthy notes. Vetiver essential oil aids arterial circulation, boosts the immune system and soothes the nerves.