Common name: Sweet Flag, calamus, flagroot, sweet cane, sweet grass, sweetroot, sweet rush • Hindi: बच Bach, घोरबच Ghorbach, सफ़ेद बच Safed bach • Manipuri: ওকহিদাক Okhidak • Marathi: Vekhand • Tamil: Vashambu, pullai-valathi • Malayalam: vaembu, vashampa • Kannada: baje, vasa, athibaje • Bengali: bach, ghorabach • Assamese: bach • Mizo: hnim-rimtui • Sanskrit: Bacha, Bhadra, Vacha • Nepali: बोझो Bojho
Botanical name: Acorus calamus Family: Araceae (Arum family)
Sweet Flag is a perennial herb 1-4 ft tall, consisting of tufts of basal
leaves that emerge directly from a spreading rootstock. These basal leaves
are erect and sword-shaped, resembling Iris leaves. They are flattened,
smooth along the margins, and have parallel veins. There is often an
off-center ridge/indentation along the length of each leaf. Sometimes the
base of the leaves or their margins are slightly red. The inflorescence is
a cylindrical spadix that is about 2–4 inches in length and semi-erect.
This spadix is covered with tiny greenish yellow flowers in a diamond-
shaped pattern. Each flower has 6 tepals and 6 stamens. The covering
spathe, which is found in many plants of the same family, is absent here.
The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts
about a month. Both the crushed foliage and rootstocks have a pleasant
aromatic fragrance. The root system consists of shallow branching rhizomes
that are stout and knobby. Tufts of basal leaves occur at intervals
along these rhizomes, while coarse fibrous roots develop below. This plant
multiplies by its rhizomes. Flowering: March-May.
|Photographed in Talkatora Garden, Delhi.|