The name is derived from acorus, Gr.
Olibanum of Java), corrupted in the parlance of Europe into benjamin and benzoin; camphor, produced by Cinnamomum Camphora, the "camphor laurel" of China and Japan, and by Dryobalanops aromatica, a native of the Indian Archipelago, and widely used as incense throughout the East, particularly in China; elemi, the resin of an unknown tree of the Philippine Islands, the elemi of old writers being the resin of Boswellia Frereana; gumdragon or dragon's blood, obtained from Calamus Draco, one of the ratan palms of the Indian Archipelago, Dracaena Draco, a liliaceous plant of the Canary Island, and Pterocarpus Draco, a leguminous tree of the island of Socotra; rose-malloes, a corruption of the Javanese rasamala, or liquid storax, the resinous exudation of Liquidambar Altingia, a native of the Indian Archipelago (an American Liquidambar also produces a rose-malloes-like exudation); star anise, the starlike fruit of the Illicum anisatum of Yunan and south-western China, burnt as incense in the temples of Japan; sweet flag, the root of Acorus Calamus, the bath of the Hindus, much used for incense in India.
The leaves, which show great variety in size and form, are generally broad and net-veined, but in sweet-flag (Acorus Calamus) are long and narrow with parallel veins.
The sweet-flag Acorus Calamus, which occurs apparently wild in England in ditches, ponds, &c., is supposed to have been introduced.
ACORUS CALAMUS, sweet-sedge or sweet-flag, a plant of the natural order Araceae, which shares with the Cuckoo Pint (Arum) the representation in Britain of that order of Monocotyledons.
The rhizome of Acorus Calamus is sometimes adulterated with that of Iris Pseudacorus, which, however, is distinguishable by its lack of odour, a stringent taste and dark colour.