Family: Araceae

This hardy, herbaceous, grass-like perennial has tough, sword-like leaves and small cream flowers. It works well as an edging for shallow ornamental ponds and lakes. It is known for its aromatic and medicinal properties.


A. calamus, sweet flag, zone 3, has small, pale yellow-green flowers and tangerine-scented leaves. When crushed, the roots also release a pleasant fragrance. An iris-like plant, it grows to about 1 m (3 ft) tall. Although too invasive for small garden pools, it is a useful border plant for large ponds and artificial lakes. Cultivar 'Variegatus' can be used in a medium-sized pool or grown in a shady position in moist soil. With its yellow-striped leaves, it resembles a small variegated flax.

A. gramineus, zone 5, grows to 45 cm (18 in) high, making it suitable for small garden ponds and moist areas around pools. Cultivar 'Pusillus', a miniature from Japan, is useful for planting in aquariums as it grows to only 8 cm (3 in).


Plant Acorns in late winter to spring. Propagate by dividing established clumps in autumn or spring as they are vigorous growers.


Suitable for cool and cold areas to the subtropics.

Aconitum      Acradenia