With all that said, there is Walt Whitman’s take on the noble Sweet Flag, whose root was considered "a fine and democratic gift” among his fellow men and “comrados” of these United States, in his addendum to Leaves of Grass, also called Calamus.

First one must understand that  candied calamus root was a very common commodity in the early 19th century, available in country stores and apothecaries in town, as a balm for headaches, “travel”, and sour stomachs, and especially beloved of children.  Nowadays, it’s considered mildly carcinogenic (though probably less than tobacco) and is not for sale anywhere I know of. Fans admit that it tastes a little “soapy”, like coriander, but it grows on you. 

So far, cool beans, but what does it look like? I can spot a flag as easily as anyone (it’s a bitty wild iris), but is this the same thing, or different? Well….

Um. It’s not so much the root, as the…um flowering body.
 I’m kind of at a loss here, it’s not quite the shape and color, which is yellow, and kind of like a single banana, or maybe a sausage…as much as it is the pert and jaunty, um, angle as it stands from the ground. Like a cute teenage boy's first erection. I'm not getting pedophile on you, I'm talking Greek art... and being more sexually active than usual in high school, as a girl..

So I guess, what he's saying, is "if things were different, I wouldn't have to hide that I'm sexually attracted to various people. I could just...show them my penis! Women would take that as a compliment! Men would already understand!" Except in Victorian...

Um.  So, I guess, when Oscar Wilde was reading in Cambridge, he had a pretty good idea who he was going to be meeting in New Jersey...