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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Acorus calamus L.
Calamus, Single-vein sweetflag, Sweet flag
USDA Symbol: acca4
USDA Native Status: L48 (I), CAN (I)
A grasslike, aromatic perennial with long, narrow, erect leaves rising to a height of 5 ft. and a distinctive inflorescence. This plant emerges from the water with a 2-edged stalk, with an outward-jutting club-like spadix bearing tiny, greenish-yellow flowers. Individual flowers are small and inconspicuous, crowded on a fleshy stalk (spadix) which resembles the leaves. A narrow, foot-long spathe (specialized leaf), projects beyond the spadix.
This plant, which grows partly in and partly out of water, reproduces by underground rootstalks that have a sweet odor and flavor, once used for making candy. All parts of the plant are fragrant when bruised.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
, WV Canada: SK Native Distribution:
P.E.I. to scattered locales in MT, ID, OR
& n. CA,
s. to SC
& TX Native Habitat:
Pond borders; wet places
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist , Wet Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Soil Description:
Wet soil. Conditions Comments:
An aromatic plant suitable for wet areas. Botanists argue whether this is a native
North American plant or an early introduction, naturalized, from Eurasia.
BenefitFragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Propagate by root cuttings. Plant the forward end of the large root with the fiber roots spread out straight and the rhizome
lying horizonally just below the soil surface. Seeds germinate fairly well in wet soil, but the plant makes few seeds, being nea Seed Collection:
Not Available Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008
I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2007-12-23
Research By: TWC Staff