CORDELIA MOLLOY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CORDELIA MOLLOY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vetiver grass roots. Vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanoides) is a tropical plant found in South-East Asia. It is used in aromatic oils, insect repellents, and as animal feed. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts and making ropes. It can protect fields against pests and weeds. Unlike most grasses, the dense roots grow downward up to 4 metres and bind to the soil, making vetiver an excellent stabilizing plant for banks, terraces, and rice paddies, and protecting soil from sheet erosion. It can be used to help prevent mudslides and rockfalls. The plant also penetrates and loosens compacted soils. The Vetiver system, a system water and soil conservation, is based on use of the vetiver plant.
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