Lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus, copyright Daniel Barthelemy.

Belongs within: Andropogoneae.

Cymbopogon is a tropical and subtropical genus of densely tufted, often aromatic grasses (Gardner 1952). Lemon grass C. citratus is used as a flavouring agent in cooking.

Characters (from Gardner 1952): Perennials, densely tufted, usually aromatic; culms simple or branched; leaf often coarse. Inflorescence of terminal paired racemes supported by a spatheole; raceme-pairs often grouped in much-branched and contracted spatheate panicles; rhachis many-noded, disarticulating; internodes similar to pedicels. Spikelets in pairs, one sessile, the other pedicellate, those of each pair usually differing in sex and more or less in shape; lowermost pair of spikelets of the lower or both racemes homogamous (usually male). Sessile spikelet of heterogamous pair dorsally, rarely laterally compressed, usually awned, falling with adjacent internode of rhachis and accompanying pedicel; callus very short, obtuse, shortly bearded. Floret 1. Glumes equal or subequal, more or less chartaceous; lower almost flat or slightly depressed or narrowly grooved on back, two-keeled, with margins sharply inflexed at least from middle upwards; upper more or less cymbiform, keeled upwards, usually one-nerved. Lemmas 2, ciliate or ciliolate (sometimes obscurely so); lower entire, hyaline, two-nerved, without floret or palea; upper bifid or two-lobed, hyaline, rarely firmer and almost stipe-like below insertion of awn, subtending bisexual floret; column of awn, if any, smooth. Palea absent. Lodicules 2, minute, glabrous. Stamens 3. Styles terminal, stigmas laterally exserted. Grain oblong in outline, circular to plano-convex in transverse section; embryo about half length of grain. Pedicellate spikelet never depressed nor grooved on back; pedicel filiform or linear, frequently with more or less cupular or auricled tips; those of lower racemes often conspicuously swollen, oblong or barrel-shaped, hard. Glumes muticous; lower chartaceous to subchartaceous, upper thinner. Lemmas 2, the lower hyaline and two-nerved, without floret or palea, the upper sometimes subtending a male floret.

<==Cymbopogon Spreng. 1815P17
|--C. ambiguusLK14
|--C. bombycinus (Br.) Domin 1915G52 [=Andropogon bombycinusB78; incl. C. obtectusG52]
|--C. bracteatus [=Andropogon bracteatus; incl. C. humboldtii Spreng. 1815]P17
|--C. citratusEN20
|--C. collinus (Pilger) Pilger 1917 [=Andropogon collinus Pilger 1910]P17
|--C. coloratusMa72
|--C. commutatusPP07
|--‘Andropogon’ cymbariusP17
|--C. dichrous [=Andropogon dichrous]P17
|--C. exaltatus (Br.) Domin 1915G52 [=Andropogon exaltatusB78]
|--C. flexuosusS03 [=Andropogon flexuosusKYK07]
|--C. globosusC78
|--C. jwarancusaPP07
|--‘Andropogon’ lachnatherusB78
|--‘Andropogon’ lanatusB78
|--‘Andropogon’ lanigerB78
|--C. martiniiS03 [=Andropogon martiniKYK07]
|--C. nyassae [=Andropogon nyassae Rendle 1893; incl. A. rufus var. auricoma Pilger 1901]P17
|--C. plurinodis [=Andropogon plurinodis]P17
|--C. polyneurosS03
|--C. procerus (Br.) Domin 1915 [=Andropogon procerus]G52
|--‘Andropogon’ refractusB78
|--C. schoenanthusMi72 [=Andropogon schoenanthusB78]
|--C. setifer (Pilger) Pilger 1917 [=Andropogon setiver Pilger 1910]P17
|--C. stolzii Pilger 1917P17
`--C. suaveolens Pilger 1917P17

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B78] Bentham, G. 1878. Flora Australiensis: A description of the plants of the Australian Territory vol. 7. Roxburghiaceae to Filices. L. Reeve & Co.: London.

[C78] Clunie, N. M. U. 1978. The vegetation. In: Womersley, J. S. (ed.) Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea vol. 1 pp. 1–11. Melbourne University Press: Carlton South (Australia).

[EN20] Eggli, U., & R. Nyffeler (eds) 2020. Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons 2nd ed. Springer.

[G52] Gardner, C. A. 1952. Flora of Western Australia vol. 1 pt 1. Gramineae. William H. Wyatt: Perth.

[KYK07] Khan, M. R., P. S. Yadava & A. Kikim. 2007. Additions to the flora of Manipur. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 215–218.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[Ma72] Mathew, D. N. 1972. The ecology of the baya in Rajampet, Cuddapah Dt., A.P. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (1): 188–191.

[Mi72] Mitra, S. N. 1972. Observations on the vegetation of the Upper Damodar catchment area. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (1): 17–25.

[PP07] Pandey, R. P., & P. M. Padhye. 2007. Studies on phytodiversity of Arid Machia Safari Park-Kailana in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 15–78.

[P17] Pilger, R. 1917. Gramineae africanae. XIII. (Andropogoneae). Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 54: 279–288.

[S03] Singh, J. N. 2003. Grasses and their hydro-edaphic characteristics in the grassland habitat of Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 143–164.

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