Cymbopogon martinii – Palmarosa Grass (plant)
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A species of Cymbopogon (lemon grass genus) native to SE Asia, mainly India. Also called Rosha or Motia. The cut herb has a delicious aroma like rose geranium, one of my favourite smells. Rosha could be used in pot pouri or distilled for its essential oil, the smell just gets better the more you crush the leaves.
The essential oil of this Cymbopogon martinii, which contains the active compound geraniol, is valued for its scent and for a number of traditional medicinal and household uses. Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective insect repellent when applied to stored grain and beans, an antihelmintic against nematodes, an antifungal and mosquito repellent. Palmarosa oil, which has a scent similar to roses, is added to soaps and cosmetics. Palmarosa oil has no known contraindications and is considered a non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising essential oil.
Care and Cultivation of Cymbopogon martinii
Cymbopogon martinii likes a well drained soil, is fast growing and hardy. Likes a full sun position and is tolerant of dry conditions once established. Trim off flower heads to encourage more leaf growth. Generally I like to cut mine down, like lemon grass, a couple of times a year, after flowering; this keeps it looking good and leafy.