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Acorus americanus (sweetflag)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Acorus americanus

sweetflag

Acorus americanus is a hardy perennial swamp or bog plant with sweet, spicy-scented leaves. Spadix-like flowers appear in June and July, followed by dark berries. Found at water's edge from Nova Scotia to Virginia to Washington to Alaska. Great for stabilizing pond edges or filling a boggy area.

SIZE
Acorus americanus LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

2-3 Feet

Spread

2-3 Feet

Spacing

12-18 Inches

Bloom Color

Green

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-6

sweetflag Interesting Notes

Acorus americanus is a wetland perennial with broad blade-like foliage resembling that of Iris versicolor or Typha angustifolia. It can be identified easily by breaking the foliage, which is uniquely aromatic. Acorus americanus can be distinguished from the European Acorus calamus by the several indistinct ribs in its foliage. By contrast, Acorus calamus has a single distinct mid rib.

Acorus americanus is typically found in the shallow waters and shorelines of wetlands across northern North America, as far south as Virginia.

In our trials, Acorus americanus has proved itself as an excellent erosion control species for the edges of our bioretention basin and ponds. It forms colonies by spreading rhizomatously, providing effective soil stabilization and dense cover for wildlife. It also thrives in the wet zone of our bioswales, where it experiences occasional inundation. Its aromatic foliage makes it an ideal plant for sites with deer pressure.

Acorus americanus has a rich history. It was used by American Indians for medicines, trade and in ceremonies. According to the USDA, DNA evidence now supports the theory that Acorus is the oldest surviving genus in the monocots.

Acorus americanus Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow sweetflag in moist to wet soils in full sun or bright shade. It is a vigorous spreader in wet soils and works well for retaining soil at the edge of a stream or pond. Tolerates periods of dry, but its appearance may suffer in long droughts.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Moist
Moist
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Wet
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Green Infrastructure
Meadow/Prairie
Erosion Control
Bioretention/Rain Garden
Attributes
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated
Grass Type
Cool Season