Calamus vulgaris – zvichayna cake (harvesting and storage)

Name: common calamus – flat cake zvichayna (harvesting and storage)

Calamus vulgaris – Acorus calamus L. Ukrainian name – flat cake zvichayna, popular names – ip, gav’yar, yavir, ipnik, tatarske zillya, tatarnik, lepeshnyak, squeaker.


Aronnikovye family – Araceae.

The rhizomes are used for medicinal purposes.

It occurs almost throughout Ukraine (with the exception of the Carpathians, the Donetsk Upland and the southern Steppe). It grows along the banks of rivers, oxbow lakes, lakes, ponds, on marshy depressions in river valleys, along the bottoms of gullies. Often forms sparse thickets on tens and even hundreds of hectares, especially in the basins of the Dnieper, Northern Donets, Southern Bug, less often the Dniester. Thickets are often located near villages. The main arrays are concentrated in the forest-steppe and woodland regions (Khmelnitsky, Vinnitsa, Cherkasy, Poltava, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy), where industrial procurement of raw materials is produced.

The average annual harvesting of calamus rhizomes in the republic for three years (1974-1976) amounted to 695.5 tons.

The reserves of raw materials are large, several hundred tons of rhizomes can be harvested annually, however, due to the drainage and plowing of wetlands, the construction of reservoirs, especially the cascade of the Dnieper reservoirs, and an increase in the intensity of grazing in wet meadows, calamus areas are rapidly decreasing.

At present, it will be necessary to quickly regulate the size of harvestings, organize reserves and nature reserves.

Calamus vulgaris is a perennial herbaceous plant with a thick, horizontal, creeping, yellowish-green, almost brown rhizome, up to 1.5 m long and up to 3 a in diameter, spiraling from above with dark semilunar leaf scars. Rhizomes are located almost on a plane, attached to the soil by numerous white cord-like roots extending from below. The leaves are linear-xiphoid, up to 50-60 cm long, extending in bunches from the top and side branches of the rhizomes. The flower-bearing stem is flattened, on one side with a groove, on the other with a rib. The inflorescence is a cylindrical cob, the flowers are located on a fleshy stem, the inflorescence is wrapped at the base with a covering leaf – a “wing”. The upper end of the inflorescence is somewhat narrowed, obtuse. The length of the cob is 4-12 cm, it is completely seated with small, greenish-yellow, bisexual flowers. Calamus blooms quite infrequently in June – July. In the conditions of Ukraine, it traditionally does not produce fruits and propagates vegetatively (by rhizomes). The whole plant, especially the rhizome, smells strongly.

Inexperienced collectors can collect instead of common calamus the outwardly similar marsh iris, which often grows in the same places almost throughout Ukraine. These plants are easy to distinguish by a number of features.

The rhizomes are traditionally harvested in summer and autumn (June-October), when the swamps dry up and the water level in the reservoirs drops. They are dug up with shovels, rarely plowed with plows, sometimes in swamps they are removed with pitchforks. In dense thickets, 50-60 kg of raw rhizomes can be harvested per day. Then the remains of leaves and stems, roots and damaged parts of rhizomes are cut off with a knife. Healthy rhizomes are washed in cold water, and then large ones are cut into pieces, and thick ones are split lengthwise.

After preliminary drying under sheds for several days, the bark is removed from the rhizomes with knives and they continue to dry under sheds or in attics with good ventilation, spreading a thin layer (up to 4-5 cm) on paper or cloth. It can be dried in dryers at a temperature not exceeding 30-35 ° (at a higher temperature, the essential oil evaporates). The yield of dry raw materials is 22-24%.

According to GF-X, art. 581, GOST 200 55-74 raw material consists of pieces of rhizomes 20-30 cm long and 1-2 cm thick outside yellowish-brown, at the break – white and white-pink with a yellow tint. The smell is peculiar, aromatic. The taste is spicy-bitter. Humidity is not higher than 14%.

The essential oil content should be at least 1.5% in peeled rhizomes and at least 2% in unpeeled ones. The rhizomes also contain the bitter substance acorin.

Raw materials are packed in bales no more than 50 kg. Stored in a group of essential oil raw materials on racks or underpacks packed. Storage period up to 3 years. Raw materials are not subject to re-control.

Rhizomes contain essential oil (up to 4.8%), bitter glycoside acorin, tannins, ascorbic acid, starch (up to 20%), choline, resins and other substances. Rhizomes are used as bitterness to improve digestion and increase appetite, as well as a choleretic and diuretic. It is part of the gastric and appetizing fees.

In large quantities, they are used to obtain essential oils used in the perfume and alcoholic beverage industries.

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