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6th International Vetiver Conference

Vernacular Names of Vetiver

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Often people get confused over the vernacular names of vetiver. Below is a list of names prepared by Narong Chomchalow, published in Vibrant Versatile Vetiver, Special Bulletin No. 2003/1, Pacific Rim Vetiver Network, on pages 37-43.
   The present list of vernacular names of vetiver is compiled by Dr. Narong from various sources whose origins are too numerous to mention in this archive.  In most cases, they have been rechecked by the scientists of the countries of origin, although some may still be wrong in their spelling, especially for non-romanized languages where there is no standard system of transcription of local languages into Roman letters; thus a given name may be written in many different spellings. Although every attempt has been made to obtain as much as possible all vernacular names used in all vetiver-growing countries, the present list is still far from complete. Thus, readers are requested to send in their contributions for additional names, especially those used by the minority people in different dialects, or in countries/dialects which are still missing, in order to make the list as compete as possible.
The list below gives the name of the country (in bold italics) where vetiver is grown or known to exist. Vernacular names are given after the language or dialect, which is written in italics. All names are arranged in alphabetical order. Vernacular name(s) most commonly used in a given country is/are underlined. To make the list of vernacular names uniform, the first letter of every word of all vernacular names is capitalized as if it were a proper noun. This is to avoid confusion with ordinary words. A comma (,) is used to separate vernacular names. Compound names are not hyphenated, but written as two or more words, e.g. Gondha Bena, Khus Khus, Xiang Geng Chao, Vala Khas Khas.
Argentina:
Spanish: Capia
Bangladesh:
Bengali: Bangla, Benna Shoba, Binna Sopha, Ghonda Bena, Gondha Bena, Ecorban, Ecorbon, Khus Khus
Brazil:
Portuguese: Capim de Cheiro, Capim Vetiver, Grama Cheirosa, Gram das Indias, Patcholi
China:           
Cantonese: Hang Gen Chao (the word ‘chao’ is spelled ‘cao’ by some authors, but pronounced ‘chao’)
Mandarin: Xiang Gen Chao
El Salvador
Spanish: Zacate Violeta
Ethiopia:
     Amharic: Yesero Mekelakeya
Fiji:     
English: Vetiver
France:
French: Chiendent des Indes, Chiendent Odorant, Gras Vetiver, Herbe Vetiver, Vetivert
Ghana:
     Dagomba: Kulikarili
Guatemala:
Spanish: Pachuli, Pasto Violeta
India:
Ayurvedic: Ushira
Bangla: Khas, Khas Khas, Khus*, Khus Khus
Gujarati: Valo
Hindi: Bala, Balah, Bena, Ganrar, Khas, Khas Khas, Khus Khus, Onei, Panni
Kannada: Hallu, Kaadu, Kaddu, Karidappasajje Hallu, Laamancha, Laamanche, Lavancha, Vattiveeru
Malayalam: Ramaccham, Ramachehamver, Vettiveru
Marathi: Vala, Vala Khas Khas
     Mundari: Birnijono, Sirum, Sirumjon
     Oudh: Tin
     Panjabi: Panni
Sadani: Birni
Sanskrit: Abhaya, Amrinata, Bala, Lamaja, Lamajjaka, Reshira, Sugandhimulu,Usira, Ushira, Virana
Santhali: Sirom
Telugu: Ayurugaddiveru, Kuruveeru, Lamajja Kamuveru, Vettiveellu, Vattiveeru, Vettiveerum, Vidavaliveru
Tamil: Ilamichamver, Vattiver, Vettiver, Vettiveru,Vilhalver, Viranam, Virkal, Vujal 
Urdu: Khas
Unknown: Sita Mulaks (used in Ayuravedic medicine to mean ‘having cool roots’), Sugandhi Mulaka (also in Ayuravedic medicine to mean ‘sweet smellng root’)
* where spelled as Khus, the u is to be pronounced just to separate kh and s without any voice for u)
Indonesia:
Bahasa: Agar Wangi, Lara Setu, Lara Westu, Rara Weatu, Rumput Wangi
Batak: Hapias
Bugis: Sere Ambong
Buol: Akadu
Gayo: Useur
Gorontaro: Tahele
Halmahera: Babu Wamendi
Jawa: Lara Setu
Madura: Kara Bistu
Minagkabau: Urek Usa
Roti: Nausina Fuik
Sundanese: Janur, Nara Wastu, Usar
Ternate: Garama Kusu Batawi
Tidore: Barama Kusu Butai
Iran:
     Persian: Bikhiwala, Khas
Laos:
     Laotian: Ya Faek
Latin America (see also individual countries):
Spanish: Capia, Mora, Pasto Vetiver, Tiva, Zacate Valeriana, Zacate Vetiver, Zacate Violet(t)a
Portuguese: Pacholi, Pachuli
Malaysia:
     Bahasa: Akar Wangi, Kusu Kusu, Naga Setu, Nara Setu, Nara Wastu, Rumput Wangi
Myanmar:
Myanmese: Myat Myit Hmway
Nepal:

Nepalese: Kas, Khas Khas

Nigeria (and North African countries across sub-Saharan belt):
     Fulani: Chor’dor’de, Ngongonari, So’dornde, So’mayo, Zemako
Hausa: Jema
Pakistan:
Arabic: Khas
Urdu: Aseer, Daron, Khas 
(Amazonian) Peru:
Portuguese: Pachuli (a name adopted from neighboring Brazil)
Philippines:
Official name in the Philippines: Moras
Bikol: Mora, Rimoras
Bisaya: Mora, Moras, Mura, Rimodas, Tres Moras
Cebu-Central Bisaya: Amoora, Muda
Iloko:  Amoras, Anis de Moro
Pampango: Anias de Moras, Ilib
Panay Bisaya: Giron, Rimodas
Sambali:  Rimora
Spanish:  Raiz de Moras
Sulu:  Narawasta
Tagalog:  Moras, Moro

Portugal:

Portuguese: Capim de Boma, Capim Vetiver

Puerto Rico:

Spanish: Baul de Pobre, Pacholi
Sahel (Region in north-central Africa, south of the Sahara):
Bambara: Babin, Ngoka Ba, Ngongon
     Fulani: Dimi, Kieli, Pallol
Gurma: Kulkadere
Mossi: Roudoum
Sarakolle: Kamare
Songhai: Diri
Senegal:
     Bamabara: Khamara
Fulani: Toul
     Poulaar: Sodorde
Tukulor: Semban
Wolof: Sep, Sepp, Tiep
Sierra Leone:
     Mende: Pindi
     Susu: Barewali
     Temne: An-wunga Ro-gban
South Africa:
     Zulu: Muskus
Spain:
Spanish: Grama de la India
Sri Lanka:
     Sinhalese: Saivandera, Savandara, Savandramul
St. Vincent:
     English: Khus Khus (originated from South Asian dialects, viz. Bengali, Hindi, or Urdu)
Tanzania:
Kiswahili: Vetiva
Togo:
     Dagomba: Kulikarili
Thailand:
Vetiveria zizanioides:
Central and Nakhon Ratchasima: Ya Faek Hom, Ya Faek, Ya Khom Faek
Central: Faek Lum, Faek Hom, Ya Faek, Ya Khom Faek,
General (all over the country): Faek
Kamphaeng Phet: Faek Ko Takhrai, Saeng Mong
Karen-Mae Sariang: Po Sia Khi
Nakhon Phanom: Faek Som, Faek Tham
Northeastern: Kaeng Hom, Khaem Hom  
Vetiveria nemoralis:

Central: Faek Don

Chiang Mai: Ya Faek
Venezuela:
Spanish: Petiver
Vietnam:
     Vietnamese: Huong Bai, Huong Lau
     Note: According to Ken Crismier , these two terms are not vetiver, but other wild grasses. However, according to Paul Truong these two vernacular names are applied for native species of vetiver, Vetiveria nemoralis, while the one popularly used for soil and water conservation, V. zizanioides, which was recently introduced, is known in Vietnam under the English common name, ‘vetiver’.
It is interesting to note the following:
1. Names that signify fragrance/fragrant of the root of V. zizanioides are:
Bhasa (Indonesia and Malaysia): ‘Wangi’ means fragrant, as in ‘Akar Wangi’ which means fragrant root, and ‘Ramput Wangi’ which means fragrant grass.
Thai: ‘Hom’ means fragrant, as in ‘Faek Hom’ which means fragrant vetiver, and ‘Ya Faek Hom’ which means fragrant vetiver grass.
Cantonese: ‘Hang’ means fragrant, as in ‘Hang Gen Chao’ which means grass with fragrant root (‘Gen’ means root, and ‘Chao’ means grass).
Mandarin: ‘Xiang’ means fragrant, as in ‘Xiang Gen Chao’ which means grass with fragrant root (‘Gen’ means root, and ‘Chao’ means grass).
Portuguese: ‘Cheirosa’ means fragfrant, as in ‘Grama Cheirosa’ (as used in Brazil)
Sanskrit and Hindi: ‘Sugandhimula’ i.e. ‘Sugandhi + mula’ means pleasing smell / frangrant + root (as used in Hindi and Sanskrit in India)
2. Names that signify being a grass are:
Bhasa (Indonesia and Malaysia): ‘Rumput’, as in ‘Rumput Wangi’, meaning fragrant grass.
Cantonese: ‘Chao’, as in ‘Hang Gen Chao’, meaning grass with fragrant root.  
Laotian: ‘Ya’, as in ‘Ya Faek’ meaning vetiver grass.
Mandarin: ‘Chao’, as in ‘Xiang Gen Chao’, meaning grass with fragrant root.          
Spanish: ‘Zacate’, as in ‘Zacate Valeriana’, ‘Zacate Vetiver’, ‘Zacate Violeta’. 
Portuguese: ‘Capim’, as in ‘Capim Vetiver’ (as used in Brazil), meaning vetiver grass; ‘Capim de Cheiro’ (as used in Brazil), meaning perfume grass.
       ‘Gram’, as in ‘Gram das Indias’(as used in Brazil), meaning grass of the Indies;
              ‘Grama’ as in ‘Grama Cheirosa’(as used in Brazil), meaning fragrant grass
Thai: ‘Ya’, as in ‘Ya Faek’, meaning vetiver grass; ‘Ya Faek Hom’, meaning fragrant vetiver grass; ‘Ya Khom Faek’, meaning vetiver grass with sharp-edged leaves.
Vietnamese: ‘Huong’, as in ‘Huong Bai’ and ‘Huong Lau’, meaning vetiver grass.
Sanskrit: Kush / Kusha – this has become Khus in Hindi / Urdu, and other allied Indian languages.
3.  Names that signify being a root are:
Cantonese: ‘Gen’, as in ‘Hang Gen Chao’, meaning grass with fragrant root
Mandarin: ‘Gen’ as in ‘Xiang Gen Chao’, meaning grass with fragrant root
Spanish: ‘Raiz’, as in ‘Raiz de Moras’ (as used in the Philippines), meaning root of Mora (the mulberry or something that color)
Sanskrit / Hindi: Mula / Mulak
                                                                                                  
4.  Same dialects/languages used in different countries:
     Bahasa:
         Indonesia: Agar Wangi, Lara Setu, Lara Westu, Rara Weatu, Rumput Wangi
         Malaysia: Akar Wangi, Kusu Kusu, Naga Setu, Nara Setu, Nara Wastu, Rumput Wangi
     Bangla:
    Bangladesh: Bangla, Benna Shoba, Binna Sopha, Ghonda Bena, Gondha Bena, Ecorban,   Ecorbon, Khus Khus
         India: Khas, Khas Khas, Khus, Khus Khus
Dagomba:
         Ghana: Kulikarili
    Togo: Kulikarili
Fulani:
     Nigeria: Chor’dor’de, Ngongonari, So’dornde, So’mayo, Zemako
     Sahel: Dimi, Kieli, Pallol
     Senegal: Toul
Thai/Laotian (both languages are similar):
     Laos: Ya Faek
     Thailand: Ya Faek, Ya Khom Faek, Faek Hom, Faek Don, Faek Lum
Urdu:
          India: Khas
         Pakistan: Khas
5.  Same names in different dialects in different countries:
Khas / Khas Khas (both are used interchangeably)
Arabic (Pakistan)
Bangla (India and Bangladesh)
Hindi (India)
     Marathi: (India)
Persian (Iran)
Urdu (India and Pakistan)
Nepalese (Napal)
6.  It is rather strange that the original Tamil word, ‘vettiver’ (meaning a coarse grass), in which the English common name, ‘vetiver’, and the generic name, Vetiveria, are derived, is not as popularly used as the other South Asian (North India in particular) words, namely Khas, Khas Khas, Khus, and Khus Khus.


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