Vetiver forms vast clumps and can grow upto a height of 1.5 meters. With tall stems and long, thin and rigid leaves, the vetiver grass is unlike any other. In contrast to other grasses, the root of vetiver grows 2-4 meters downward in depth. The vetiver grass grows in bunches and has a friendly character. The shoots of this bunch grass makes it frost, resistant to wildfires and even makes it strong enough to survive abundant grazing pressure. The vetiver grass is non-invasive and has the ability to form very dense hedges when planted along the slopes. The stems can withstand deep flow of water and the root system of the vetiver grass is admirably structured and is strong. The vetiver plant is drought tolerant and is extensively used for the conservation of soil and water.
There are many properties of the vetiver grass that make it stand out when compared to other grasses.
Minimum space requirements- The roots of the vetiver grass grow vertically and do not compete with other surrounding crops for water or nutrients. They do not require large spaces for their growth and are not high maintenance.
Several uses- Vetiver grass has many uses. It is effectively used in the conservation of soil and water. It has medicinal as well as beauty care uses. It is also used as food for many animals.
Low maintenance- To keep the vetiver grass in good shape, all it needs is an occasional trim. Flowering slows down the growth of the clumps, hence it is essential to stop the grass from flowering.
Ease of propagation- The most important characteristic of Vetiver grass is its ease of propagation. Most of the varieties of vetivers are hybrids and do not seed or produce stolons. The propagation of vetiver is a very simple procedure and it doesn’t require much effort on your part.
The vetiver grass is known to have many uses. The biggest use of it is its ability to prevent soil erosion and conservation of moisture with an added bonus of environmental rehabilitation. Apart from these, the vetiver grass has been an aid in many other fields as well.
Beauty care- Vetiver is used to produce soaps, shampoos, body washes, creams and perfumes for personal care. Vetiver is generally used for perfumes for men as it gives a smoky, woody and strong scent.
Crop protection- This is one of the most important uses of vetiver. It is used as a mulch for the purpose of weed control in several different plantations.
Feed for the animals- The thin leaves are used as a feed for many animals like goats, sheeps, horses and cattle.
Adding flavours- Vetiver is also used as a flavouring agent in food, incence sticks, as a syrup. The syrup is made from the roots of the grass and has a woody taste. It is generally added to milkshakes and traditional drinks like lassi.
Medicinal benefits- Vetiver is used as traditional source of medicine in Asia. The Vetiver oil obtained from the vetiver grass is brown and thick. It has a deep, sweet and woody odor. The oil is rarely found outside India. With oil, vetiver can be used in other formats also. Vetiver has antiseptic properties, due to which it is used for the treatment of acne and sores.
Soil and water conservation- Soil erosion is a major environmental problem corrupting our planet and degrading the environment. Many efforts have been put into finding a solution for this arising problem by using different new technologies and ideas, but only vetiver grass has been able to make its mark. The vetiver system, which is a technology for the prevention of soil erosion and conservation of water, uses the vetiver grass and this technology is now extensively used in combating against soil erosion.
Other Uses- Vetiver is also used for handicrafts, perfumes, mats, bath scrubs, incence sticks, paper making, pest control etc