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Acorus americanus

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Plant types and subtypes: Grasses, Perennials, Wetland Grasses, Evergreens

Light Requirements: sun

Water Use: high

Soil Moisture: wet

Soil Description: rich, average, poor, clay, sand

Height: 2'-4'

Bloom Color: yellow, green, brown

Leaf Color: green, lime-green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6

Additional Tags: bog plant, colonizing, edible, emergent, evergreen, fragrant plant, fragrant root, medicinal, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant, swamp plant, water garden plant, wetland plant

Acorus americanus (sweetflag).
  • Acorus americanus (sweetflag).

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Description

Acorus americanus

Also known as:

sweetflag

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Acorus calamus var. americanus

Description

Acorus americanus is an emergent wetland plant (the base and roots remain submerged while the plant grows above water). The bright green, sword-like leaves have a lemony, spicy scent when crushed. They emerge directly from the plant's rhizomes and grow to an approximate height of 4 feet. The actual flowers are inconspicuous but appear on a thick, fleshy cylindrical axis known a a spadix, protruding sideways from a blade-like stalk.

Cultivation

Sweetflag is better adapted to cold climates and can be found from Virginia to well within the arctic circle. This is a wetland plant who's roots need to remain consistently wet. It can be planted on the margin of a water feature, or submerged in up to 20" of water. The medium height of Acorus americanus make it well suited as a background plant for for small, home garden ponds; though it s best to keep individual specimens in containers to prevent them from colonizing. Blooms as early as May and as late as August, depending on geographic location. Zones 3-6

Propagation

Easy to propagate by division of the fleshy rhizomes, which can reach several feet in length. May also be propagated from seed.

Additional Notes

Though Acorus calamus is a commonly used synonym, it is a distinct Eurasian species that can be distinguished for having only the midvein prominently raised above the leaf surface, rather than all veins in the American species. Both however, have long been consumed for their aromatic and medicinal properties. The dried roots and leaves exude a spicy, citrusy aroma and can be added to potpourri.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
CT, DC, DE, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, VA, VT, WA, WI

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: PA

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Arecidae
Order Arales
Family Acoraceae Calamus family
Genus acorus sweetflag
Species Acorus americanus sweetflag