This family is known as the grass and the nutritious family. It is so named because the plant members are grasses and the plants are known for their ability to provide nutrients to the soil.
Other common names Akar Wangi - fragrant root - name used in Java, Khus Khus – aromatic root - name used in India, Oil of tranquility - name used in Sri Lanka.Vetiver is a tall (1.5-2.0 m) perennial grass. It has a small stout rhizomatous stolen which gives rise to spongy, fibrous, dense roots system. Roots have aromatic properties and grow 20-30 cm deep in medium textured marginal soils under cultivation. Tremendous diversity exists with respect to pattern of growth, orientation and thickness of roots, as well as for occurrence of secondary roots. The bast region of root is the source of essential oil. The leaves are linear, narrow, erect, grassy, keeled with glabrous joint scabrid margins. Inflorescence is a panicle, up to 15-45 cm long, bearing numerous racemes in whorl on a central axis. The lower spikelets are reduced to lamena.
The upper spikelets are narrow, acute, appressed, awnless, green, grey or purplish in colour, 4-6 mm long, arranged in pairs. One floret in spike is sessile and bisexual; this bisexual floret has a glabrous callus, 3 stamens and 2 plumose stigmas. The other floret is pedicelled and staminate. Java vetiver is non flowering type has broader leaves (1.1 mm), medium thick stems, bushy growth bearing flowers with high pollen sterility; the plants give out more branching roots with higher oil content and the oil is dextro-rotatory in nature.Vetiver has a long and rich history. In India it has been used to make blinds necessary to keep out the intense heat. When the blinds are sprinkled with water they emit the vetiver scent. In Java the root has been used for centuries in weaving mats and thatching huts. The Vetiver root is used in folk magic for its purported ability to provide safety and increase financial resources.
A ritual designed to promote personal safety calls for inhaling Vetiver while visualizing one’s body as being sealed off from negative energies.Vetiver is native to South India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It is also cultivated in Reunion, the Philippines, the Comoro Islands, Japan, West Africa and South America. The oil is mainly produced in Java, Haiti and Reunion.In World market the demand for vetiver oil is increasing day by day due to its unique odour, for which it is used in both flavour and fragrance industries. Moreover, this oil cannot be substituted with reconstituted oil and cannot be made through synthetically. Vetiver perfumes give pleasing aroma and has slow evaporation rate. Pure vetiver (Khus) root oil known in trade as “Ruh – Khus” and its use in scents since ancient time. Vetiver oil is the basis of the Indian perfume ‘Majmua’ and is the major ingredient in some 36% of all western perfumes (e.g. Caleche, Chanel No. 5, Dioressence, Parure, Opium ) and 20% of all men’s fragrances.Vetiver oil is used in perfumery, cosmetics and soaps and for flavouring sherbets (Indian cool drinks).
Dried roots are also used to perfume the linen cloths.The roots have been used for making screens, mats, hand fans and baskets. The screens are hung like curtains in the houses and when sprinkled water, impart a fragrant coolness to the air; they are in great demand during the summer.For desert coolers in summer in North India.Roots for preparing Sherbet or soft drink during summer, especially in North India.Vetiver Oil is used extensively in perfumery not only as a fixative, but also as an odor contributor in bases such as fougere, chypre, modern woody -aldehydic or ambre-aldehydic bases, Oriental bases, moss and wood notes, opopanax bases, rose bases, etc. It blends well with linalool,cinnamicalcohol,patchouli,sandalwood,oakmoss products,amylsalicylate, lavender, clary sage, mimosa, cassie, opopanax, isoeugenol, etc.The oil also serves for the isolation of Vetiverol and Vetiverone, the former again being used to produce Vetiveryl Acetate.