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a genus of herbaceous perennial plants of the family Araceae with long, up to 1 m, sword-shaped leaves and a thick, creeping rhizome. It has two species. A. calamus, the first, is widespread in Asia, Europe, and South America. In the USSR it is found principally in the European part (aside from the northern regions), in Kazakhstan, Siberia, and the Far East. It grows on the shores of rivers and lakes, sometimes forming dense thickets. The plants contain tanning agents. Volatile oil is obtained from the rhizome (sweet flag root) of A. calamus and is used in the perfume, confectionery, and other industries. Preparations from the rhizome are used to stimulate the appetite and to improve digestion and also as a tonic against depression of the central nervous system. The second species, A. gramineus, is widespread mainly in East Asia; its rhizome is used in the confectionery industry.