The main difference between lemon grass and citronella is that citronella has red or magenta base stems while lemon grass has green base stems.
Lemongrass and citronella are two closely related plants and have a very similar appearance and smell. In fact, both act as natural insect repellants. Furthermore, the essential oils of lemongrass and citronella are used in aromatherapy. Sometimes, people also use the two names, lemongrass and citronella, interchangeably, but they are two distinct plants.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Lemon Grass
– Definition, Features
2. What is Citronella
– Definition, Features
3. What are the Similarities Between Lemon Grass and Citronella
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Lemon Grass and Citronella
– Comparison of Key Differences
Citronella, Lemon Grass
What is Lemon Grass
Lemongrass is a tall, perennial grass, having the scientific name Cymbopogon citratus. It has about 45 species of native tropical and sub-tropical climates of Australia, Africa and Asia. India is the biggest producer of lemongrass. The stalk of the lemongrass is used as a culinary herb, especially in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is used to make a nutritious tea and as a herb to flavour food. We can use it in both fresh and dried forms.
Lemongrass has a smell that is quite similar to lemon; hence, the name lemongrass. The essential oil made of lemongrass can be used as a fragrance for products like deodorants, soaps and cosmetics. Moreover, the citral component in lemongrass can actually act as an insect repellant.
What is Citronella
Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) is a clump-forming perennial grass native to tropical Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Burma, and India. This grass can grow up to 2m and have red base stems. Citronella oil is an essential oil we use in soaps, candles, and insect repellents. Citronella is especially effective as a mosquito repellent. You can use the oil as a spray or as a diffuser. Moreover, the oil is sometimes infused in creams and ointments to be used as a topical application.
Furthermore, geraniol and citronellol, which are the main chemical constituents of citronella, are antiseptics. This is why we use them as household disinfectants and soaps. Besides, citronella also has some health benefits too: it can act as an antifungal agent, treat parasitic infections, help wound healing and fight fatigue.
Most people tend to confuse citronella grass with lemongrass. It’s important to know that these are two different plants. While lemongrass has several culinary uses, especially in South Asian cuisine, citronella grass’s main use is as an essential oil and an insect-repellant.
Similarities Lemon Grass and Citronella
- Both lemongrass and citronella are perennial grass native to tropical regions.
- Moreover, they have a lemony scent.
- We use both these plants in medicine and aromatherapy.
Difference Between Lemon Grass and Citronella
Lemongrass is a lemon-scented tropical grass that is widely used in Asian cooking and in perfumery and medicine. Citronella, on the other hand, is a fragrant grass, Cymbopogon nardus, of southern Asia, cultivated as the source of citronella oil.
Colour of Stem
Citronella has red or magenta base stems while lemongrass has green base stems.
We use both these plants in cooking, medicine and aromatherapy. Lemongrass has several culinary uses, especially in South Asian cuisine, but citronella grass’s main use is as an essential oil and an insect-repellant.
Lemongrass and citronella are two closely related plants and have a very similar appearance and smell. The main difference between lemon grass and citronella is that citronella has red or magenta base stems while lemon grass has green base stems.
1. “What Is Citronella Grass: Does Citronella Grass Repel Mosquitoes.” Gardening Know How, Available here.
2. Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “Citronella Oil Benefits, How to Use, Side Effects and Safety.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 14 Aug. 2019, Available here.