One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In full "rosha grass", "†rosha paper grass". A South and South-East Asian grass, Cymbopogon martini, from which essential oils are obtained; especially the form or variety of this grass from which palmarosa oil is obtained.
Mid 19th century. Partly from Hindi rūsā, and partly from its cognate Marathi rośẽ from Sanskrit rohiṣa, denoting the grasses, apparently lit. ‘red, reddish’ (although the semantic motivation is unclear), ultimately from the same Indo-European base as red.
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