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

Acorus americanus


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.

Acorus americanus LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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2-3 ft


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-6

sweetflag Interesting Notes

Acorus americanus can be distinguished from the European A. calamus quite easily. Acorus calamus has a single distinct mid rib, while A. americanus has several indistinct ribs. A. calamus has naturalized over much of the US and in many areas is more common.

Acorus americanus was used extensivly by Native Americans and early settlers and has long been known for its medicinal value. The rhizomes of this plant were used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and were also sought after by perfumeries.

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
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Season of Interest (Foliage)
Early Spring
Late Summer
Late Spring / Early Summer
Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Propagation Type
Open pollinated
Grass Type: Cool Season
Erosion Control
Native to North America
Moist Sun