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.
Bengali: Bangla, Benna Shoba, Binna Sopha, Ghonda Bena, Gondha Bena, Ecorban, Ecorbon, Khus Khus
Portuguese: Capim de Cheiro, Capim Vetiver, Grama Cheirosa, Gram das Indias, Patcholi
Cantonese: Hang Gen Chao (the word ‘chao’ is spelled ‘cao’ by some authors, but pronounced ‘chao’)
Mandarin: Xiang Gen Chao
Spanish: Zacate Violeta
Amharic: Yesero Mekelakeya English: Menschen grass
French: Chiendent des Indes, Chiendent Odorant, Gras Vetiver, Herbe Vetiver, Vetivert
Spanish: Pachuli, Pasto Violeta
Bangla: Khas, Khas Khas, Khus*, Khus Khus
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
Sanskrit: Abhaya, Amrinata, Bala, Lamaja, Lamajjaka, Reshira, Sugandhimulu,Usira, Ushira, Virana
Telugu: Ayurugaddiveru, Kuruveeru, Lamajja Kamuveru, Vettiveellu, Vattiveeru, Vettiveerum, Vidavaliveru
Tamil: Ilamichamver, Vattiver, Vettiver, Vettiveru,Vilhalver, Viranam, Virkal, Vujal
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)
Bahasa: Agar Wangi, Lara Setu, Lara Westu, Rara Weatu, Rumput Wangi
Bugis: Sere Ambong
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
Persian: Bikhiwala, Khas
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
Bahasa: Akar Wangi, Kusu Kusu, Naga Setu, Nara Setu, Nara Wastu, Rumput Wangi
Myanmese: Myat Myit Hmway
Nepalese: Kas, Khas Khas
Nigeria (and North African countries across sub-Saharan belt):
Fulani: Chor’dor’de, Ngongonari, So’dornde, So’mayo, Zemako
Urdu: Aseer, Daron, Khas
Portuguese: Pachuli (a name adopted from neighboring Brazil)
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
Spanish: Raiz de Moras
Tagalog: Moras, Moro
Portuguese: Capim de Boma, Capim Vetiver
Spanish: Baul de Pobre, Pacholi
Sahel (Region in north-central Africa, south of the Sahara):
Bambara: Babin, Ngoka Ba, Ngongon
Fulani: Dimi, Kieli, Pallol
Wolof: Sep, Sepp, Tiep
Temne: An-wunga Ro-gban
Spanish: Grama de la India
Sinhalese: Saivandera, Savandara, Savandramul
English: Khus Khus (originated from South Asian dialects, viz. Bengali, Hindi, or Urdu)
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
Central: Faek Don
Chiang Mai: Ya Faek
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:
Indonesia: Agar Wangi, Lara Setu, Lara Westu, Rara Weatu, Rumput Wangi
Malaysia: Akar Wangi, Kusu Kusu, Naga Setu, Nara Setu, Nara Wastu, Rumput Wangi
Bangladesh: Bangla, Benna Shoba, Binna Sopha, Ghonda Bena, Gondha Bena, Ecorban, Ecorbon, Khus Khus
India: Khas, Khas Khas, Khus, Khus Khus
Nigeria: Chor’dor’de, Ngongonari, So’dornde, So’mayo, Zemako
Sahel: Dimi, Kieli, Pallol
Thai/Laotian (both languages are similar):
Laos: Ya Faek
Thailand: Ya Faek, Ya Khom Faek, Faek Hom, Faek Don, Faek Lum
5. Same names in different dialects in different countries:
Khas / Khas Khas (both are used interchangeably)
Bangla (India and Bangladesh)
Urdu (India and Pakistan)
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.