All parts of this plant from India are strongly lemon scented and are widely used as an ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking. Clumps of inch-wide leaves grow 34 feet tall (or more) and 3 feet wide. The base clump, composed of overlapping leaf bases, is nearly bulbous in appearance. Lemon grass can live over in the mildest-winter regions, but it's safer to pot up a division and keep it indoors or in a greenhouse over winter. Easily planted from divisions.
To harvest lemon grass, cut off the thick, bulbous stems just above the crown (ground level). Only the bottom third of each stalk is used; the bigger the better. Peel off the outer sheath and finely slice or pound the inner stem for salads or cooking. The sharp-edged blades (the upper part of the stems) are too tough to eat.