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assumed the identity of Andropogon Martini with Andropogon
Jwarancusa^ and in this he was no doubt wrong. Roxburgh's
type must have been cut from an unusually robust plant. The
culm is 6 mm. in diam. ; the sheaths are up to 8 mm. wide, whilst
the incomplete leaves are about 37 cm. long, and where broken
off, 12 mm. wide, the maximum width near the base being 15 mm.
The inflorescence is over 30 cm. long. I have seen no specimen
exactly matching the type so far as dimensions are concerned ;
but one collected by Duthie at Asirgarh Fort, the locus classicus—
as we shall presently see — of the Rusa-oil plant, is in every other
respect a perfect counterpart of it, so that there can be no doubt
as to the identity of Andropogon Martini and the Rusa-oil plant.

Complication op the Synonymy.— In 1837, Royle referred
to the fragrant Nimar grass in his essay on the * Antiquity of
Hindoo Medicine.* As Hatchett had tried to prove that it was
the * Spikenard ' of the ancients, so now Royle in an elaborate
paragraph endeavoured to demonstrate that the grass was the
classical Calamus aromaticusj and therefore proposed for it the
name Andropogon Calamvs aromaticus. Although it seems to me
highly probable thot the ancient CcUamics aromaticus was one of
the aromatic Cymbopogons which form the subject of this paper,
I doubt if it was the Rusd grass. This, however, is not the p£ice
to examine the question. Royle gave no technical description of his
Andropogon Calamus aroma^icus^ though he figured it extremely
well in his * Illustrations of the Botany of the Himalayan Mountains'
(1840), tab. 97, fig. 3. Here (p. 425) he defined the area of the grass
as extending " north as far as Delhi, and south to between the
Godavery and Nagpore," which is somewhat surprising, as he must
have known it from the outer hills of the Himalayas, particularly
from the neighbourhood of Saharanpur and Simla. In fact, it had
already been collected in Nepal (probably the Nepal terai) by
Wallich as early as 1820, and described by Triniusf from
Wallich's specimens as Andropogon' pachnodea in 1833, whilst an
excellent figure by the same authorj followed in 1836. The-

• WaUioh in Trans. Med. & Phys. Soo. Calcutta, voL i. (1826), p. 368.
t Trinins, Andropog. in M^. Ao. P^tersb. s^. 6, vol. ii. (1883), p. 284.
t Trininsf Spec. Gram. Icon. (1836), tab. 327.



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337

synonymy was further complicated by Q. C, Nees, who named
some specimens in Wight's herbarium (No. 1702) Andropogon
nardoides, and in 1841 published a description of Andropogon nar-
daideSy^ at the same time reducing Trinius's Andropogon pachnodes
to it as a synon3rm. There were thus four names in the field,
more or less definitely connected with the fragrant Nimar grass :
Andropogon Martini (1820), A. pachnodes (1833), A. Calami^
aromatictM (1840), and A. nardoides (1841). They were all set
aside, when in 1862 Munrof pointed out that the * type ' of Andro-
pogon SchoenanthtM in I^innaeus's herbarium was Roxburgh's
Andropogon Martini. I have in another place shown the value
of that ^ type ' and explained how little it has to do with the Rusa-
grass. However, the &ct was accepted as implying that Linnaeus
had this grass in view when establishing his Andropogon
SchoenanthuB^ and consequently Flilckiger and Hanbury^ (in 1874)
put ^Andropogon Schoenanthus^ L.,' down as the source of the
Rusd-oil, an assumption which has since then remained unchal-
lenged. From what I have said, it is, however, perfectly clear
that the Rusd-grass is actually identical with Andropogon Martini
of Roxburgh, and has to stand as such^ or, if transferred, to
Cymbopogonj as C. Martini.

Abba and Variation.— The area of C. Martini extends in
India from the Rajmahal Hills on the bend of the Ganges to the
Afghan frontier, and from the subtropical zone of the Himalaya to
about 12° N., leaving out the desert and steppe region of the Panjab,
the outer slopes of the Western Qhats, and, as would appear, a
gr€«t portion of the Northern Camatic. Prom the collectors' and
writers' notes it appears to be locally very common, and a con-
spicuous feature, particularly in the late autumn when the panicles
change colour and impart their rioh brown-red tints to the hill sides.
So striking is this colour effect that one is tempted to suggest that
the two commonest vernacular names for the grass * rusa ' with its
numerous variations, and ' mirchia gand,' take their origin from it ;
* rusa * being possibly derived from ' ruh,' Sanscrit for "to be red,"
and ' mirchia gand,' having reference at the same time to the colour,
the red of mirch (Capsicum) and to the scent (gandha). Within
the greater part of its area the grass, although very uniform in the
structure of the spikelets and the peculiarly soft and delicate texture
of the leaves, is remarkably variable in stature and in the dimensions
of the leaves. From less than 1 m. it grows to a size which iei
described as * gigantic,' whilst the leaf -blades range from '25 to
probably quite 1 m. in length and from 8 (in extreme cases 5) mm.
to 30 mm. in width. One of the most characteristic features of the
leaf of C. Martini is that the greatest width is generally near the
base of the blade, which is rounded off and suddenly constricted
and frequently clasps the culm. This form is for example
illustrated in Trinius's and Royle's figures and might be called the
^pachnodes ' type. In Roxburgh's type specimen the shape of the
blade is somewhat different in so far as the width is almost the
same for a very considerable distance from the base upwards, whilst
the base itself is less constricted and not stem-clasping. The same

• Nees, Fl. Afr. Anstr. (1841), p. 116.

t Monro in Jonm. Linn. Soc. voL tL (1862), p. 52.

t Fl&okiger and Hanbnry, Pharmacographia (1874), p. 660.



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338

type is repeated on a smaller scale in Duthie's specimen from
Asirgarh Fort and in Wi^^ht's No. 1702, and on a still smaller
scale in the slender form which is prevalent in the southern and
south-western part of the area. How far those differences are due
to the conditions of the habitat can only be decided in the field ;
but they certainly suggest edaphic influences, such as the conditions
of soil and water supply. According to Malcolmson, the Rusa-
grass, in the Deccan, affects particularly the trap, more or less
avoiding the granite, so much so that he was able to trace the green-
stone dykes across the granite by the luxuriance of the grass, whilst
Fernandez writes that it grows on the hill sides as well as on
plateau land and in periodically flooded plains, all of which indeed
implies a considerable diversity of local conditions. Still it is
noteworthy that in the ample material at my disposal the
^pachnodes^ type is not represented from any point south of 18° N.

Early records op RusA oil and RusA grass.— It was
Dr. N. Maxwell,* Assistant Surgeon at Asirgarh Fort in Nimar,
who in 1824 in a letter to the Medical Board of the East India
Company called attention to a fragrant grass which was " found
in great abundance on the sides of the Hill fort, as well as
all over Malwah. From it," he says, *'is extracted a highly
pungent essential oil (when in its pure state), which I can from
experience confidently recommend as of the highest benefit, when
applied by friction in rheumatic affections," and further, that " it
is prepared by a very rude pro(5ess under Jaum Ohaut, in the
vicinity of the station of Mundlaisir." The specimens which he
sent with his letter were submitted to Wallich, who, in his reply
to the Medical Board, reported as stated above, adding that he
himself had found the plant abundant in Nepal. In the follow-
ing year, J. Forsyth,t who had been directed to investigate the
matter on the spot, presented a paper to the Medical and Physical
Society of Calcutta, in which he gives a detailed account of the
preparation and the sale of the oil and the conditions under
which the grass grew and was gathered. He also gives * Roosa-
ka-Tel " as the native name of the oil. Of the grass, he reports
that it*' is met with in frequent distinct patches in the jungle
throughout the province of Nemaur, but in greatest abundance
along the foot of the Vindhya range, near Nsdcha, at which two
placesj only I believe it is prepared, at least to any amount.
About the latter end of August, it begins to bud, and Continues to
flower in tolerable vigour till the end of October, during which
period alone it gives out the oil in sufficient quantity to cover the
expense and trouble of its preparation, as after this it speedily
dries up, and what little oil it does yield is extremely acrid, and
unfit for use. . . . The oil is obtained from the grass by
distillation . . . the plant is cut across where it begins to give
out its flower, and bound up into small bundles. ..." A few
years later (in 1830), Charles Hatchett, F.R.S., a prominent chemist,
received a sample of oil from a Mr. Samuel Swinton, who had
been in the East India Company's service for many years and had
resided for some time in Malwa. Hatchett made the grass which

* MaxweU in Trans. Med. & Phys. Soo. Oalontta, vol. L (1825), pp. 367-368,
t Forsyth in Trans. Med. k Phys. Soo. Calcutta, vol. iiL (1827), pp. 213-218.
X Viz., Jaum and Nalcha.



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33S)

yielded this oil the subject of a somewhat confused paper, entitled
^Spikenard of the Ancients' (1836), which I do not intend to
discuss here, confining myself to Swinton's information embodied
therein. Swinton, like Maxwell, first became acquainted with the
oil (which he says is called " Rhonsee-ke-Tell " by the natives) as
an effective remedy in severe attacks of rheumatism. He also
stated ^ that although the plants are found in other parts of India
a3 well as in Malvah, yet those which grow about the Jaum Ghaut
are preferred, and gathered in the month of October, when the seeds
forming the ears or spikes have become fully ripe. At that
season, however, in the places where this gigantic grass is
produced, the jungle fever is so prevalent that the peasantry
who collect it will not expose their health . . . unless
tempted by very high remuneration. . . ." Hatchett further adds,
** Mr. Swinton was informed by them (the principal natives) that
it has been prepared in and about Malvah from time immemorial,
at first probably by the Parsees, although at present it is entirely
in the hands of the Borahs, a very commercial people, forming a
sect of Moslems, whose chief resides at Surat. The oil is
obtained from the spikes which, when ripe, are cut with a portion
of the stem about one foot in length, and are then subjected to
distillation. Only a small comparative quantity of the oil is
consumed by the natives, the greater part being now, as was the
case in very remote times (according to tradition), sent as an
article of commerce to Arabia." Finally it is stated that "the
odour of the plant is so powerful, that although camels will eat
almost any vegetable, yet they will not browse on this. . . ."
Neither the production nor the export of the oil can, however,
have reached any considerable dimensions, as Jacquemont, who,
in the spring of 1832, visited Nalcha and Jaum, and gave a very
full account of Malwa, does not mention the grass or the oil.
The grass, it is true, might have escaped him, as at that season it
must have all been dried up.

How far there is any truth in the tradition that oil has been
distilled from the Rusd grass ' from time immemorial,' we do not
know. The authors of the Pharmacographia Indica (vol. iii., p. 558)
merely suggest that " the industry commenced in the 18th century
whilst Khandeish was in a flourishing condition under its Mahometan
rulers." However this may be, there is sufficient evidence that
the grass must have been known to the Aryan peoples of India for
a very long time. ' Rohisha,' the Sanskrit equivalent of the Hindi

' Rusd,' occurs in Susruta and in some of the earliest Sanskrit
dictionaries. Another name in Sanskrit, evidently from the same
root, is * R6sem.' Variants of these terms are generally recognised
vernacular names in the Hindi, Gujerati, and Mahrati dialects.
Curiously enough, the name does not appear in the earlier Persian
Pharmacopoeias, the first record of it ' Rus ' being apparently in
the Makhzan-el-Adwiyaht (1771). According to the authors
of the Pharmacographia (vol. iii., p. 557), G. Martini is also " the
Bhustrina or Bhutrina * earth grass' of the Raja Nighanta,"
and among the synonyms, which it bears, we may mention
6andha-Kh6da and Gandha-trina 'odorous grass,' Su-rasa



♦ Boyle, Antiquity of Hindoo Medicine (1837), pp. 81-34, 82-83, 148.
t See Dymock, Veget. Mat. Med. Western India, ed. 2 (1885), p. 851.



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340

* well- flavoured,' and Su-gandha * having an agreeable odoor.'"

* Bhustrina ' is also mentioned in Susruta. Roxburgh* identified
it with his ^ Andropogon SchoenanthuSj that is * lemon-
grass,' ((7. citratus\ which, having regard to the origin and
history of that species can hardly be correct. The same
applies to the other Sanscrit name which he refers to the ^ lemon-
grass,' namely *Malatrinu Knng,' or rather Mala-trini (Stolz) or

Mala-trinaka (Hessler), another term ased in Sosruta and inter-
preted as connoting ^ Andropogon Schoenanth%i8' Of other
vernacular names which have been connected with (7. Martini^
I would mention here only two, ' Mirchia-gandh ' and * Gandh-bel.'
^ Mirchia-gandh ' has already been alluded to. Its derivation from
*Mirch'=C7a;p5iCMm annuum or Piper nigrum and *gandha's=
odour, perfume, is obvious. There is not much in the grass to
suggest pepper, but the bright colour of the fruiting panicles
might well be compared to the red of chillies. If tJ^is is the
meaning, the name cannot, of course, be old. It occurs, however,
already in the Talif Sherif ,t where it is mentioned in connection
with *Gundheer as something kindred. * Gandh-bel' (given as
' Gundbeyl ' in Gladwin's translation) occurs as a Hindi synonym
of *' Izkhir' as early as the middle of the 15th century in the Ulfaz
Udwiyah4 again in the Talif Sheriff (' Qtindheel ' in Playfair's
translation) and in the Makhzan-el-Ad wiyah| (1771, ^ Gundbel ' and
^ Gundhiz ' in the Pharmacographia Indica). By this time *' Izkhir '
seems to have become a nomen genericum with the Arab and
Persian physicians in India, and similarly * (Jandh-bel ' may have
been applied to several of the fragrant Andropogons of Northern
India, including ultimately also the Memon-grass,' for which
Roxburgh, Fleming, and Ainslie found it in use a* the beginning
of the last century. The derivation of 'Gandn-bel' and its
variants is, save as regards the appellation 'Gandh' (gandha,
iSarwc.sodour, perfume), still obscure. * Gandhi' by itself is,
according to Drummond,! used in the Panjab for C. Schoenan-
thus (Khavi), and, according to Duthie,§ in the north-west part of
that province for C7. Martini%.

Present extent op RusA-oil Industry. Motia and
SUFIA. — At present the principal places of production of Rusa-oil
are Pimpalner, Akrani, Nandurbar, Shahada, and Talada, all in
Khandeish ; but it is also prepared in the Nagpur, Sagar, Jubbul-
pur and Kamul districts, and at Ajmere (Rajputana). Considering
the wide distribution of the Rusa-grass, it is surprising how limited
the area of its exploitation is. The principal reason is no doubt
the quite recent development of the demand for the oil. In
1879 the total production was estimated at 3600 kilos, or 7934 lbs.
Since then it has risen enormously and may at present amount to
about 20,000 kilos, or 44,080 lbs.** There may, however, over
certain areas, be differences in the constitution of the grass due to

• Roxburgh, PI. Ind., ed. Carey & Wall, vol. i (1820), p. 278.

t Taleef Sherif, trans. Plavfair, p. 129.

X ITlfaz Udwiyah, transL Gladwin.

§ See Dymock, Veg. Mat Med. Western India, ed. 2 (1886), p. 851.

^See Dnthie, Fodd. Grass. N.W. Ind. (1888), p. 36.
Dntbie, Lo.
** Gildemeister k Hoffmann, VoL Oils, (1903), p. 285.



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341

racial yariation or to conditions of the station resulting either in a
reduction of the amount of oil obtainable or in such a modification
of its quality as to render it unfit for the market. As an instance,
I may mention that Madden*, a very careful observer, remarks
that the "seeds (of C, Martini from Kumaon) seem different
from those of the Neemar oil-grass, and have neither the same
pungent odour or oily feel." Similarly the predilection of cattle
and other animals for it in some districts, and their aversion to it
in others may be accounted for by the existence of some such
variation, unless indeed the observations on this point have been
made indiscriminately from the young and the old grass. For
there seems to be little doubt that the amount and the constitution
of the oil in the plant undergo certain changes as the grass passes
through its yearly cycle of development. Forsythf has already
remarked that the grass has to be cut during a certain period, to
cover the expense and trouble of the preparation of the oil, as the
amount obtainable subsequently diminishes, while the quality
deteriorates at the same time. The distinction between the two
kinds of RusA-oil, viz., *Motia' (Motiya) and *Sufia' (Sofiya),
which the distillers of Khandeish and the neighbouring districts
recognise, apparently depends on siniilar conditions, altJ^ough the
accounts concerning them are to some extenfc conflicting. The
authors of the Pharmacographia Indica (vol. iii., p. 558) say : " The
oil distillers in Khandesh call the grass Motiya when the
inflorescence is young and of a bluish white colour ; after it has
ripened and become red, it is called Sonfiya. The oil obtained
from it in the first condition has a more delicate odour than that
obtained from the ripened grass. The Motiya oil is usually
mixed with the second kind, which by itself would not fetch a
good price in the European market." On the other hand,
Mr. E. Q. Fernandez reports in a letter to Kew : ** The motid
species (or variety) is usually confined to the higher hill slopes,
while the sufid grass is more common in the plains and on plateau-
land in the hills, but they are not unfrequently found growing
together. The sufid is much more strongly scented, but the odour
of the motid is preferred, and this latter commands double the
price of the former. It is chiefly or exclusively the motid that is
exported to Turkey for mixing with otto of roses." The samples
of both forms supplied by Mr. Fernandez do not show any mor-
phological differences, and as to age, some of the motid samples
are in a more advanced stage than the sufid.

9. Cymbopogon oaesins, Stapf.

{Andropogon cassius^ Nees, in part.)

Eam2ltci-(Kam2Lkshi-) grass (Tamil).

Chabactbb op the Grass. — I have already pointed out that
the Rusd-grass extends over the Deccan as far south as 12^ N.,
with the exception of the western Ghauts and a portion of the
€amatic, and further, that in the southern part of its area it is
represented mainly by a narrow-leafed state. In the Carnatic, it

• Madden, in Journ. Ab. Soo. Beng. voL xvii part i. (1848), p. 489.

t ForsTth, in Tnuu. Med. and Phys. Soa Oalontta, toL iii. (1837), p. 916.

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342

is replaced by a closely allied form with more slender and more
branched culms, usually from f-1 m. high, with narrower, thinner,
often almost flaccid and very glaucous leaves and with generally
smaller panicles, which seem to retain their glaucous colour, or
merely turn strawcolour when mature. The structure of the
spikelets is, however, that of G. Martini^ and so closely does the
Camatic grass in some instances approach the narrow-leafed state
of C. Martini, that there would be no difficulty in constructing a
chain of intermediate stages, linking together both forms as
completely as possible. Those transition forms are, however, so
far as I can see, confined to the border districts where the two
grasses meet, elsewhere they are sufficiently distinct.

Early History. — The oldest specimens of the Camatic grass
on record are a specimen in the Plukenet herbarium at the
British Museum and several in the Du Bois herbarium at Oxford,
all of them collected near Madras at the end of the 17th or in the
early years of the 18th century ; but it is very probable that a
passage in a letter by Herbert de Jager* to Rumphius, dated
6th July, 1683, also refers to it. Contesting the view of Bontius
and others that the 'Sereh' of the Malays is identical with
the ^ Scfwenanthum^ of the herbalists and in support of his
argument, he says : " I have become familiar with the true and
genuine Schoeiianthum in Persia, and particularly on the coast of
Coromandel, where I have traversed whole fields of that grass,
which is about 2\ to 3 feet high and the scent of which may be
noticed from afar, particularly during the night when dew falls
or in day-time when it rains, whilst in sunshine and fine weather
not much odour is perceptible. In Golconda this Schoenanthum
ground into powder is used for washing the hands on account
of the sweet scent it imparts to the water ; though the odour
does not persist when the hands get dry." Neglecting for the
present the question as to what the ' Schoenanthum ' powder of
Oolconda was, there can be little doubt that the fragrant Coromandel
grass, of which there were whole fields to traverse, was the
Kamatci-pillu of the Tamils. Of this name we hear for the first
time in * Samuel Browne's Seventh Book of East Indian Plants,'
edited and commented on by Petivert (1702). The plants which
form the subject of the paper were collected " between the 15th
and 20th June, A.D. 1696, in the ways between Fort St. G^eorge
and Trippetee, which is about 70 miles oflE." One of them was
' Comachee pillee,' and of it Browne says : " This is Schoenanth,
which the natives here have not in great Esteem ; sometimes in the
Moors' Camps, the Horses, Camels, and Oxen which carry burthens
eat nothing else ; it is generally 2 or 3 feet high here about (but
near Color in reech soyl, I have seen it 8 feet high) [this gigantic
grass is no doubt C. Martini'] and thick as a Quill or small Reed ;
It's sometimes by the natives put into their Decoctions for Fevers,
and with us is deservedly of more esteem." PetiverJ identified
the * Comachee pillee ' with Plukenet's ' Oramen Dactylon
Maderaspatense^ figured on plate 119, fig. 2 of his A^lmagesta
(1691), the type of which is in Plukenet's herbarium — ^it is the

* Herbert de Jaiirer in Valentini, Hist. Simpl. (1732), p. 392.
t In Petiyer, Mr. Samnel Browne, his Seventh Book of East India Plants in
Phil. Trans, xxiil. (1702), p. 1252.
t Petiver, l.o., p. 1251.



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343

specimen to which I have referred above. That type is an exact
connterpart of certain specimens in the herbarium of Ch. Du Bois,
who had received them from Madras, partly from his brother
Daniel and partly from Dr. Balkley, the latter having put them
down as * Caumachipille pille,' i.e., * Kamatci pillu.' Petiver
also enumerated the same grass, as a specimen in the Du Bois
Herbarium proves, as ^^ Schoenanthxis Madraspatanus panicula
minors^ spicis villosis geminis " in his * Museum,' No. 576 (1695),
and communicated a sample ^f it to Scheuchzer, who in his
• Agrostographia,' p. 98 (1719), gave a more detailed account of it
under Petiver's phrase.

Confusion with * Andropoqon Schobnanthus, L.'—
Petiver, in his commentary on Samuel Browne's plants, made the
mistake of identifying the Kamatci pillu with the ^ Schmnanthum^
of the herbalists, and even upbraided Plukenet for figuring
" this plant twice over . . . his first figure is much truer than
the last," although it is quite clear that the ' first figure ' (Almag.
tab. 119, fig. 2) represents the Blamatci pillu, whilst the other
(I.e. tab. 190, fig. 1) illustrates, though badly, the ^ Schoenanthum.'
I mention this mainly to show that, even in pre-Linnean times, the
tendency had manifested itself of identifying other aromatic grasses
with the one which had become so familiar to the botanists of those
early days. We have seen that Linnaeus fell into the same error,
and we need not be surprised that when, towards the end of the
18th century, Koenig and his pupils Rottler and Klein gathered
the grass again, they too put it down as ^ Andropogon Schoen-
anthus,^ Rottler and Klein supplied Willdenow with specimens
of this grass, and Willdenow appears to have written out his
extended description of * Andropogon Sc?u>enanthtcsJ'\j^iQj:i^rAt



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