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. The foliage resembles Iris versicolor or Typha angustifolia. It is an excellent erosion control plant for the edges of bioretention ponds, forming colonies by spreading its rhizomes. Its aromatic foliage repels deer. Acorus americanus was used by American Indians for medicines, trade and in ceremonies. According to the USDA, DNA evidence now supports the theory that Acorus is the oldest surviving genus in the monocots.
Image courtesy of Jelitto Staudensamen.