Acorus calamus is a moisture-loving coastal plant that has many other names: yaver, acorus (Latin), irn root, Tatar grass, etc. Its homeland is Considered to be East Asia, while in Europe, according to legend, it was brought by the Mongol-Tatars, who widely used Acorus calamus for healing purposes. Today, this plant grows everywhere, including England and the American continent. It can almost always be found along the banks of reservoirs and near wetlands, where it coexists with sedge and horsetail, forming dense and extensive thickets. Artificially grown for water bodies in the backyard, as a houseplant or in an aquarium.
Acorus calamus is a perennial with erect non-branchy shoots and narrow long stiff leaves, growing on a short stem densely and fan-like, gradually growing together. The height in favorable conditions can reach 1.2 m. Thick creeping rhizome is located horizontally and is edible, has a spicy-burning taste and a pleasant aroma. Contains oil, widely used in folk and official scientific medicine, as well as in the production of perfumes.
In the first half of summer, Acorus calamus blooms with small yellowish flowers collected in oblong cylindrical cobs, reaching 12 cm in length. In southern countries, after flowering, fruits are formed, which are multi-seeded red berries. In the middle latitudes of the European continent, seeds do not ripen.
Acorus calamus fruits in nature are distributed by animals.
Varieties and species
According to different systematization, the genus Aira includes up to 6 species. Two varieties are generally recognized – common Acorus calamus (swamp), characterized by higher growth, and compact cereal. This miniature, no higher than 30 cm acorus is most often used as an aquarium or houseplant.
Artificially bred variegated varietal varieties, for example, Veriegata, the leaves of which have a wide light border. It is also worth highlighting the variety “Pusillus”, which is valued by aquarists for dwarf growth – its leaves do not rise above 10 cm.
According to legends that have no scientific confirmation, Acorus calamus is the first or at least one of the first plants to appear on our planet.
The absolute unpretentiousness of the plant allows you to grow it without problems where there is constant access to water. It is better to give open areas of the garden to light-loving crops, especially since the open sun can go to the detriment of the air. Fluctuations in daily temperatures, cold winds and drafts do not matter for this culture. The rest of the care items are also simple and easy to do.
It likes abundant and regular watering, and best of all – constant access to water. But in certain conditions, it can endure a temporary drought.
This is one of those few plants that, even in home cultivation, practically do not need additional fertilizers. Everything necessary and necessary it receives from the water. The introduction of fertilizers is undesirable, since it will provoke excessive growth to the detriment of the vegetative development of the bush.
Resistance to low temperatures depends on the varietal variety. In particular, this is the main difference between swamp Acorus calamus and cereal. The shorter the greens, the less frost-resistant the variety is. This is especially true of artificially bred species. In warmer regions, planted Acorus calamus is usually left in winter without shelter. In the central latitudes, it is recommended to dig it up and store it in a container filled with earth in an unheated room or in ordinary flower pots at home.
In fact, the Acorus calamus is not cut, but combed. But it is better to do this not in the autumn after wilting, but in the spring. By this time, last year’s foliage will have finally dried up and it will be easy to remove it. In addition, it will serve in the winter as a good protection against frost where planting remains to winter in the open ground.
Do not neglect this point of care for the air, because over time the site thickens greatly, and it becomes very problematic to get into the sod in order to remove weeds.
Because of the long creeping rhizome, it is impossible to dig up an adult specimen of Acorus calamus for transplantation from the soil entirely. Therefore, transplantation is usually combined with the division of the bush. In the Central regions of Russia, it is recommended to do this exclusively in the spring. Autumn transplantation is possible only in areas with a warm climate.
Planting and caring for Acorus calamus in room conditions
It is best to grow as a houseplant a cereal variety and the lowest-growing varieties. To do this, it is recommended to use hydroponics, but you can plant Acorus calamus on a sandy-peat mixture with the addition of turf earth or river silt. Care is simple and consists in providing the plant with water. If it grows in an aquarium, worries about it are completely minimized.
In China, Acorus calamus is considered a plant capable of driving away all evil from the dwelling.
On this occasion, every year on the 5th day of the 5th month, its leaves, root pieces and shoots are laid out in the house at the door, on the windowsills and under the beds.
Choosing a place for landing
Despite the favorite places of growth near the water or in shallow water, planting Acorus calamus is possible in an ordinary garden, provided that it is provided with a sufficient amount of moisture. The main point of care in this case is watering. When choosing a place for planting, it is still better to give preference to well-moistened areas. These can be lowerings of the soil or places where rainwater runoff is arranged. Grooves for water access can also be made artificially, providing for their waterproofing.
Lighting requirements, on the contrary, are very modest, so you can plant an acorrus in any corner of the site where it will be provided with the necessary humidity.
The easiest way to get new Acorus calamus seedlings is to divide the rhizome, and the time is early spring. For division, 3-4-year-old specimens are suitable, the rhizome of which is divided into segments of 10-15 cm. Leaves before division and planting are recommended to be shortened by a third of the length, after which the rhizome is cut with a sharp shovel or knife and transplanted to a new place. High-growing varieties are buried by 20 cm, dwarf – no more than 10 cm. Survival rate of root cuttings is almost equal to 100%. If the planting of Acorus calamus was carried out in an unflooded area, at first very frequent and abundant watering is required. It is desirable to shade the “new settlers” from the sun during the first two weeks.
The center of the leaf rosette should not be sprinkled with earth!
Possible problems of growing Acorus calamus
- Yellowed or dried leaf tips indicate insufficient moisture of the root system or foliage (too dry air).
- If the leaves have begun to turn black, it can be assumed that the rhizome rots, which can provoke too cold soil.
- At too high temperatures, the plant can be affected by a spider mite. The first sign of infection is the appearance of light webs, in more severe cases, the foliage dries out and twists.
Despite the widespread use of the plant for medicinal purposes and its use in the perfume and food industries, the chemical composition of all parts of Acorus calamus is not fully understood. But we can say for sure that its greatest value is the root, and in it is the substance azarone, which has a sedative, hypnotic, and under certain conditions an analgesic effect.
Acorus calamus root has the ability to lower blood pressure and relax muscles, relieving spasms. In addition, it contains tannins, bitter glycoside acorine, resins and other useful elements. Its use in traditional medicine is very wide and has relatively few contraindications.
Acorus calamus leaves have the property of eliminating unpleasant odors indoors and repelling flies, mosquitoes and other insects.
Collection and procurement of raw materials
The main time of harvesting the root of the “Tatar potion” is autumn, when the level of coastal waters is lowered as much as possible. You can dig it in the spring, but in natural conditions it is difficult because of the flooding of reservoirs. Excavated rhizomes are well washed of dirt, and then cleaned with a knife. After that, they are cut into pieces, and the thickest are also along. In this form, the raw materials are dried. If, before cutting the rhizome, it is slightly withered in the air, it will retain its white color.
For drying, it is best to use grates or fabric cloths, which are placed in a well-ventilated room. It is necessary to ensure that the temperature does not rise above + 35C, so that valuable essential oils do not evaporate, so no heating devices for drying can not be used. A ready-to-store root breaks easily. The shelf life of harvested raw materials is no more than 3 years.
In the landscape design, the air looks especially impressive next to the sitnik and white-winged.