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Acorus calamus L.

Family Name: Acoraceae
Common Name: Calamus, Sweet Flag, 白菖蒲, 水菖蒲
Full Sun: 6-8h Lots of Water Coastal Ornamental Foliage Aquatic &Hydrophyte


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Emergent, Waterside / Marginal)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Grassy
Maximum Height 1 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1 m


Native Distribution India, Central Asia, Eastern Europe
Native Habitat Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb with an erect growth habit. It can grow up to 150cm tall and has a creeping growth form. 
Foliage Linear, aromatic leaves have entire leaf margin and narrow to a fine tip. They are arranged in a fan-like shape and have a red base.
Stems It has a branching, underground rhizome.
Flowers The flowers are bisexual and consist of 6 tepals, 6 stamens and a sessile stigma. 
Fruits The fruit is in the form of a berry. 
Cultivation It is best grown under full sun, in consistently wet soil. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( In Indian folk medicine, this plant is used in combination with other ingredients to treat inflammatory pain, headaches and migraines. The anti-inflammatory activity of compounds in this species was demonstrated in a rat-based model by Muthuraman and Singh (2011).)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Waterlogged Soils (Does not Drain Site), Heavy Clay Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Asian populations of this species may have a toxic compound in the roots known as asarone. North American and Siberian populations may lack this compound.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Propagation Method Storage Organ (Rhizome)


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green


References Murthuraman and Singh. 2011. Attenuating effect of Acorus calamus extract in chronic constriction injury induced neuropathic pain in rats: an evidence of anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and calcium inhibitory effects. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 11. 24

Image Repository



Master ID 29182
Species ID 3491
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.