Steam distilled from the leaves of Cymbopogon nardus cultivated in Sri Lanka.
The oil is used extensively as a source of perfumery chemicals such as citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. These chemicals find extensive use in soap, candles and incense, perfumery, cosmetic, and flavouring industries throughout the world. Citronella oil is also a plant-based insect repellent and has been registered for this use in the United States since 1948. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers oil of citronella as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.
The Ceylon type of citronella oil consists of geraniol (18–20%), limonene (9–11%), methyl isoeugenol (7–11%), citronellol (6–8%), and citronellal (5–15%).