Plans on to promote the use of the grass on the slopes in Ooty

Vetiver, the multi-usage plant, can play a significant role in checking landslides and controlling soil erosion in hill areas like the Nilgiris but regrettably not many are aware of this, said S. Jayashree and J. Rathinamala, professors of the Coimbatore-based Nehru Arts and Science College.

The college has been given a project by the Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology to promote the use of the plant on the slopes here.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Saturday, they said that as part of the project the grass botanically referred to as Chrysopogon Zizanioides was planted along the slopes in Kodappamund on the Ooty-Kotagiri highway, Marapaalam on the Ooty-Mettupalayam national highway and Kalhatty.

Stating that there was a need to enhance awareness about the different purposes that the plant serves, they said that despite its efficacy in binding soil and contribution to disaster mitigation it has not been promoted properly.

Pointing out that the areas planted with the grass would be inspected during the rains, they said that in addition to preventing soil erosion, it helps treat contaminated water and soil. It has several medicinal properties.

Its leaves can be used for cultivating mushrooms and also in handicrafts.

Landscaping

In landscaping, vetiver plant can be of considerable use. Earlier, a workshop on vetiver and cultivation of mushrooms was organised by the college here for the benefit of some self-help groups. College Principal B. Anirudhan presided. Assistant Divisional Engineer, Highways, G. Murugan spoke.