This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect herbs, with very long horiontal branched rootstocks, sword-shaped leaves, and 3-angled scapes keeled on the back and channeled in front, and a seemingly lateral cylindric spadix, the. scape appearing as if extending long beyond it, but this upper part is in reality a spathe. Flowers perfect, densely covering the whole spadix. Perianth of 6 membranous concave sepals. Stamens 6; filaments flattened, much longer than the anthers; anthers reni-form or sagittate, 2-celled, the cells confluent at maturity. Ovary oblong, 2-4-celled with 2-8 orthotropous ovules in each cell; stigma sessile, depressed-capitate. Fruit a 2-3-celled gelatinous berry, few-seeded. Endosperm copious. [Name ancient.]
Two known species, the following widely distributed in the north temperate zone, the other Japanese. The following is the generic type.
Acorus Calamus L. Sp. PI. 324. 1753.
Leaves linear, erect, 2°-6° tall and l' wide or less, sharp-pointed and sharp-edged, with a rigid mid-vein running their whole length, 2-ranked, closely sheathing each other and the scape below. Spathe a leaf-like extension of the scape projecting 8-30' beyond the spadix; spadix spike-like, 2'-3 1/2' long, about i' in diameter, compactly covered with minute greenish-yellow flowers.
In swamps and along streams, Nova Scotia to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Louisiana and Kansas. Also in Europe and Asia. In our territory fruit is rarely, if ever, formed. The hard ovary is usually found to be imperfect, with 2 or 3 abortive cells and ovules. The plant is propagated by its large rootstocks, which furnish the drug Calamus. Interior of stalk sweet. Myrtle-flag, -sedge or -grass. Sweet-myrtle. Sedge-grass, -cane, -root or -rush. Sea-sedge. Beewort. May-July.