What is Calamus? How to Use Calamus

Sweet Flag, Sweet Grass, Sweet Rush, Wild Iris

FR: Calamus, Jonc odorant, Lis des marais, Roseau aromatique

GER: Schilffeder, Schilfrohr

IT: Calamo Aromatico

SP: Calamo aromatico

BOT: Acorus calamus

FAM: Araceae

ILL: Plate 4, No. 6

This is a marsh plant common in the entire northern hemisphere. It grows wild in Britain (although not native here) and throughout the United States. The plant grows in shallow water on the edges of pools and sluggish streams. It stands about four feet high; the leaves have crinkly margins and are scented when rubbed. First record of its cultivation is from Poland in the thirteenth century.

All parts of this plant are sweet and aromatic and the roots were at one time candied to make a strongly pungent sweetmeat in both England and America. It is used as a flavouring, particularly in liqueurs. The very young leaf buds can also be eaten as a salad. Older rhizomes are often fibrous.

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