An exceedingly common rush-like herb, with very long, horizontal, branched rootstocks, and rather stiff, sword-shaped, light green leaves, growing in thick patches along streams and in swamps, and flowering from May to July. The flower stem resembles the leaves, but is larger, and from one side, near the middle, it sends out a thick, fleshy, tapering spike, which is densely crowded with minute, greenish yellow florets. This spike is tender and edible when about half developed. The root which has a strong, aromatic fragrance, is used by country people when dried or candied, as a remedy for dyspepsia, and as a stimulant and tonic for feeble digestion. Calamus appears to have been known to the ancient Babylonians, and also by the Greeks. It is used in India to some extent, and the powdered root is an esteemed insecticide in Ceylon and India. It also produces a volatile oil that is largely used in perfumery. Calamus can always be identified by the fragrance emitted by the roots, and for edible purposes similar roots should be avoided. The interior of the stalk is sweet. It ranges from Nova Scotia to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Kansas and the Gulf of Mexico. Also in Europe and Asia. This species grows from two to six feet high.