Flag, the Sweet, or Acorus calamus, L. an indigenous perennial plant, growing in shallow, standing waters, rivulets, and marshy places. It delights in an open situation, and might be transplanted into gardens, where it will thrive, if the ground be moist, and not shaded by trees; but unless it grow in water, it never produces flowers, which appear about the latter end of June, and continue till August.
The root of this vegetable has a very agreeable flavour, which greatly improves by drying. It is affirmed to possess carminative and stomachic virtues, having a warm, pungent, bitterish taste, and is frequently used as an ingredient in preparing bitters, though it is said to impart a nauseous flavour.
In the opinion of LinnAeus, the powdered root of the sweet flag night supply the place of our ofreign spices; and is the only genuine aromatic plant of cold climates. Others assert, that ague* have been cured by it, after the Peruvian bark had failed. These roots are commonly imported from the Levant, but those reared in Britain are in no respect inferior. The fresh root candied, is used at Constantinople as a preservative against epidemic diseases. — See Gout.
According to BechsteiN, the leaves may be employed for dispelling many noxious insects: hence we recommend them particularly against the moths infesting woollen cloth, and the destructive worm* in books; for which purpose they might, every year, be replaced in the corners of drawers and shelves. - M. Bautsch has used the whole plant for tanning leather; and Dr. Boh-mer remarks that the French snuff, called a-la-violette, probably receives its peculiar scent from this fragrant root. - .Neither horses, cows, goats, sheep, nor hogs, will eat the hero or roots of this vegetable.