Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Visitors to Bosque Santa Lucia normally don't pay much attention to a big clump of grass just a few meters from the reception center but they are always pleasantly surprised when I break off a blade of the plant for them to smell. Without fail, everyone recognizes the smell as that of lemon grass. Only the nomenclature changes according to the nationality of the visitor. The locals refer to it as "capim santo", which translates into "saint's grass". The next most common name is "lemon grass". Then comes "citronella grass". Citronella is also the distilled oil of the plant and makes for an excellent insect repellent. There are several species of lemon grass. This one was given to me by Frei Leao and Eunice Sena, friends who enjoy life on the edge of the Tapajos River.