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Typha latifolia

Pronunciation: Tie-fa la-ti-fo-lee-a.
Family: Typhaceae (cattail family)
Common Name: Cattail, reed-mace
Plant Type:
  • bulb, tuber, corm
Height to: 3'-9'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -50 to -40ºF ZONE 2
  • -30 to -40ºF ZONE 3
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • mid summer
  • late summer
Bloom Description: The stems are topped by dense cylindrical spikes of tiny brown flowers (golden when laden with pollen) that look like sausages or cat's tails. Common cattail gets up to 9' tall and the upper, male or pollen bearing flower spike is joined to the lower, female part
Soil Type: Wetlands
Toxic:
  • No
Plant Perks:
  • Dry Flowers
Pests and Diseases: None
Propagation: Seed, division - below ground parts
Notes for Identification: Cattails are probably the most versatile edible wild plant in north america. All parts are edible. In early spring the young shoots can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. In late spring the immature flower heads (while still green) can be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. In early summer, the golden pollen is easily shaken off the flower spikes into a paper bag. Mixed with wheat flour, it makes an excellent protein rich flour, especially good for pancakes. From late summer through winter, small sprouts on the tips of the rhizomes can be eaten raw or cooked as a potherb. Throughout the winter, the thick rootstocks are full of starch and the core can be cooked like potatoes, or made into a snowy white flour. The leaves of cattail are used to weave baskets and chair seats and backs. The flower heads are used in arrangements. These may be sprayed with lacquer to prevent their disintegration. Considered invasive.
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