LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf, Cymbogogon flexuosus (Nees ex Steud.) Wats.)
Family - Poaceae (Gramineae), Lemongrass, a perennial herb with long, sharp-edged blades. It grows in dense clumps best in tropical climates. The fresh stalks and leaves have a clean lemon like odour and is due to the praesence of an essential oil, which is also present in lemon peel. Mainly Lemongrass is cultivated for oil distillation and to use as flavouring in coking.
How ever no clear records of when Lemongrass was introduced to Sri Lanka.
Agromonic Requirements for cultivation
Lemongrass grows well at altitudes between 100m and 1200m from sea level. It flourishes on a wide variety of soils but best growth on well drained sandy-loam soil. Uniformly distributed annual rainfall throughout the year is essential. However high rainfalls tend to high leaf yields but low oil contents. Temperature range of 23 - 30° C and sunshine is preferable to the development of oil in the plant.
Under the common name Lemongrass there are main two species
- West Indian Lemongrass, 'Sera' (Cymbopogon citratus) Leaves are used as a spice, and oil is also distillated. But the quality of oil is inferior to the other Lemongrass species.
- Indian Lemongrass, (East Indian Lemongrass, Kochin Lemongrass, Malabar lemongrass) (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
- Mainly cultivated for oil distillation purposes. In Sri Lanka Most farmers are growing this type, for oil distillation.
Lemongrass is planted by seeds or by suckers with the spacing of 60 cm x 60 cm.
Normally farmers didn't use fertilizer but for a high yields fertilizer can be applied according to the following rates.
|Urea||25 kg/ha/yr||When Planting|
|Rock Phosphate||107 kg/ha/yr|
|Muriate of Potash||50 kg/ha/yr|
Urea 130 kg per yrs - after each and every harvesting, may be in 3 or 4 applications.
Three months after planting 1st leaf yields can be obtained. Thereafter in every 2 or 3 month intervals, harvesting could be done.