Acorus americanus - SWEET FLAG

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Grass-like wetland perennial that spreads via rhizomes to form dense stands, which provide excellent support for wildlife and appear similar to cattails or irises from far away.

Aromatic rhizomes and leaves with cinnamon-like scent (when broken or crushed). Tough plant for bigger rain garden, pond or any wet place.

The green-white or green-yellow flowers, which appear in early to midsummer, are followed by dark brown berries.

This plant spreads vigorously in wet conditions, making it a great choice for restoration projects and stabilizing pond edges.  

Excellent for rain gardens, bog gardens, shallow water, bioswales, stormwater and erosion control, wetland restoration, wet prairies, and swampy conditions. 

Tolerates acidic conditions and short-term droughts, though the leaves will scorch if the soil remains dry for extended periods of time.

Indigenous Americans probably played a large role in the distribution of this plant, as they most likely traveled with and traded it, as well as planted it along trade routes. Well-established populations of Sweet Flag often occur near indigenous sites. The rhizome is known to contain medicinal properties and is used to treat a variety of conditions such as nausea, heartburn, colds, fatigue, and anxiety.

Blooming Time: April/May - June/July
Size: up to 2-3' tall x 1-2' wide and slowly spreading wide
USDA Zones: 3 to 6
Culture: full sun, tolerates part shade (may appreciate it in hotter areas), consistently moist soil
Moisture Needs: moist to medium-moist
Origin: native to much of the northern half of the US and several Canadian provinces (USDA distribution map)
Deer/Rabbit Resistant: yes / yes
Attracts Butterflies or Pollinators: no / yes
Attracts Hummingbirds: no, but waterfowl and other wildlife eat the seeds. Muskrats feed on the leaves and dense clumps provide shelter for water birds and ducks.
Pot Size: square 3.5" x 4" deep
Plant Combinations: Best in wet areas, meadows, rain gardens, pond edges to stabilize the soil, or interesting addition to herb garden. Can be grown as single specimen for bigger colonies, or combined with other strong growing perennials like Asclepais incarnata, Boltonia asteroides, Chelone, tall Eupatorium, Filiendula, herbaceous Hibiscus, moist loving Irises (I. virginica, I. versicolor, I x lousiana, I. laevigata, I. pseudata, eyc.), Lysimachia, Lythrum alatum, Mimulus, Peltandra virginica, Pontederia cordata, Physostegia virginiana, Sagittaria.

Grasses or grass looking plants like many of the moist loving Carex (sedges), Juncus, Sparganum, Spartina pectinata or Scirpus.

Picture Copyright: Jack Greenlee, U.S. Forest Service, Commons Wikipedia