Family: Poaceae | Place of Origin: Southeast Asia
Multiple species of lemongrass are native to various Southeast Asian countries, with Malaysia being considered the specific point of origin for Cymbopogon citratus. The first record of cultivation dates back to 17th century texts from the Philippines. Around 1905, a Sri Lankan researcher named J.F. Jovit began to take an interest in studying the plant, and by 1917 it had been introduced to Haiti and tropical regions of the United States. By 1947, cultivation for commercial purposes had started in Florida and Haiti. Large scale cultivation of lemongrass had already begun in India around a century ago, and after commercialization the country is now the number one exporter of lemongrass products. In the present day, it is widely cultivated in tropical regions of the Americas and Asia, with China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Guatemala also being major exporters. As lemongrass is culturally significant to many countries in Asia due to practical, medicinal, and culinary value, its commercial industry is large and the plant as well as its oil extracts are exported worldwide.