The Fragrant Catail with the Vanilla Flavor
Found throughout North America wetlands, the roots and tops of this perennial herb have a delicious sweet vanilla-cinnamon flavor. Normally this species is used for its heavenly fragrance and the oil is extracted just for this purpose. Sweetflag grows in large colonies and like the wetland wild iris, it is fairly easy to cultivate in non-wetland conditions. We have a nice stand of these in one of our strawberry fields which is irrigated only in dry periods. Our seeds for propagation were collected from Wisconsin wetlands and each plant we grow is a seedling from fertile diploid selections. They are considered not to have beta-asarone which is the compound that is found in the triploid European strains or similar North American plants and is not safe for internal consumption. Despite this difference of the North American plant vs. the overseas plants, the FDA still has a ban on the use of Calamus for use in food no matter where it is from. For your safety, avoid using the root or tops at all for tea. Just enjoy the fragrance as you would eucalyptus. All of our plants are at least 3 years old and well rooted.
Plant SpecsGenus & Species:
Acorus calamus var. americanaSeed Source:
-30 FHeight (ft):
Does not produce seeds unless in a wetland.Soil:
Wet muck soil or damp soil Will grow in drier loam and mulched soil fine, but growth is slow.Climate:
Zone 4-8. Likes high humidity.Ease of Cultivation:
Easy to grow but not your average garden plant due to its propensity for water.