Plants in the Bible: Bramble & Calamus

There was an abundance of bramble during Biblical times , a plant decorated with a prickly defense that grows white, fragrant flowers. In this article, you will learn more about this plant that appears in the Bible, as well as calamus, which is sometimes referred to as ‘sweet cane.’


The bramble is seen in many different ways across the various religious texts. Plants with thorns and briers are usually mistaken for brambles, and vice versa. A true bramble is a relative of the garden raspberry, which belongs to the rose family. It is believed that the plant mentioned in Luke 6:44-45 is referred to a true bramble:

“For every tree is known by its own fruit, for figs are not gathered from thorns, nor grapes vintaged from a bramble. The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good; and the wicked man out of the wicked, brings forth what is wicked: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

The prickly part of the bramble makes it difficult to collect the edible fruit that grows. It is seldom sought after because the plant tends to thrive in dense thickets that are hard to navigate. Another reference to brambles appears in Isaiah 34:13, where a curse on Edom is revealed stating: “Thorns will overrun her citadels, nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals, a home for owls.”


“Calamus” is considered an unusual plant that appears in the Bible , sometimes called by different names, such as “sweet cane” and “sweet myrtle.” References to the plant are found in the following passages:
Exodus 30:23 , “take thou also unto thee the chief spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred’shekels , and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty,” [American Standard Version]

Song of Solomon 4:14 , The passage in the Song of Solomon suggests that “calamus” was grown as a garden plant. It is mentioned in the line “Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:” [King James Version]

Isaiah 43:24 , “You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.” [New International Version]

Jeremiah 6:20 , “There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba. Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands! I will not accept your burnt offerings. Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.” [New Living Translation]

Ezekiel 27:19 , “Greeks from Uzal came to trade for your merchandise. Wrought iron, cassia, and fragrant calamus were bartered for your wares.” [New Living Translation]