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Acorus calamus ‘Variegatus’

Sweet flag

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassArecidaePalm-like plants
OrderAralesSweet flag, arums, duckweeds
FamilyAcoraceaeSweet flags and related plants
GenusAcorusSweet flag
SpeciescalamusSweet flag
Cultivar‘Variegatus’Has variegated leaves

About plant names...

Natural sweet flag is believed to originate from India. It is now found through much of Europe and Asia, as well as North America. This cultivar has green and white leaves instead of green leaves, and is not found in the wild. The name sweet flag is probably due to an old practice of simmering the roots to prepare a candy; it may also be because the foliage and root stalks have a pleasant aromatic fragrance. The American poet Walt Whitman was enamored with sweet flag, devoting 39 poems to it.

Identification: This cultivar reaches 2-3′ (60-91 cm) in height, with many long, grasslike leaves ¼-⅝″ (7-17 mm) wide. In this species, the leaves have a prominent middle vein, somewhat raised secondary veins, and multiple very small tertiary veins. This cultivar has creamy white stripes along the leaves. An inconspicuous greenish flower called a spadix, looking a little like a miniature corn on the cob, is 1¾-3½″ (5-9 cm) long. It grows in shallow water or extremely wet soil.

Online References:

The Fine Gardening Plant Guide



Acorus calamus ‘Variegatus’ description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Acorus calamus (sweet flag)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 2 × 1′ (62 × 41 cm)

Acorus calamus (sweet flag)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Mass­a­chu­setts

Range: Zones 4-10:

About this map...