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Fragrant Cattail  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. Some use includes frangrance as well as using the roots for tea.  Sweetflag grows in large colonies and like wild iris 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.  Our selections were grown from these seeds of fertile diploid plants. They are considered not to have any beta-asarone which is the compound that should not be consumed as it could cause cancer. Despite this difference of the North American plant vs. overseas,  the FDA still has a ban on the use of Calamus for use in food. For this reason, avoid using the root or limited use for tea and/or use the inner leaves.  The PFAF Plant Database as well as Wikipedia contain the details of this mostly sublimely fragrant plant. (Or just smell it while working in the garden. It really is heavenly.)

Plant Specs

Genus & Species:

Acorus calamus var. americana

Seed Source:



-30 F

Height (ft):


Pollination Requirements:

Does not produce seeds unless in a wetland.


Wet muck soil or damp soil Will grow in drier loam and mulched soil fine, but growth is slow.


Zone 4-8. Likes high humidity.

Ease of Cultivation:

Easy to grow but not your average garden plant due to its propensity for water.

Product Sku# Price Quantity
Pot, SWEE $8.25 Qty:
10 Plants in pots, 2 yr. SWEE_10 $72.50 Qty: