iris vs. sweet flag

Discussion in 'Annuals, Biennials, Perennials, Ferns and Bulbs' started by jetoney, May 26, 2005.

  1. jetoney

    jetoney Active Member

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    Last year I planted some "iris ensata variegata" and planted them in the wet end of my yard (Central Ohio, zone 5b or 6a). This year the fans have grown up very nicely, but there is no sign of flower buds. Meanwhile the "iris ensata 'cry of rejoice'" that I planted a few feet away are doing great and forming lots of flowers.

    The question is, how plausible is it that the variegated plants are actually sweet flag, "acorus calumus variegatus," that were mislabeled? Do the two look enough alike that such a mistake could be made? Or is it reasonable that the variegated irises would not produce any flowers at all for the first year after being divided?

    Thanks,

    Jim
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Either is possible. Acorus is a flowering plant also, unless this cultivar seldom flowers you will see something from it eventually, iris or acorus, that will tell the tale.
     
  3. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

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    Jim, Acorus calamus 'Variegatus' is easily identified.
    1. The leaves of Acorus calamus tend to be longer and narrower than Iris ensata.
    2. A. calamus has a prominent single midrib.
    3. Smell the foliage and/or rhizome.
    As you know, one of the many common names is 'sweet' flag; the foliage has a distinct odour, which becomes stronger when dried, but I found the rhizome to have an unpleasant turpentine-like odour/taste.
     
  4. jetoney

    jetoney Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice. It turns out that I was just being impatient - they are irises, and some flower buds are starting to form.

    -Jim
     

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