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Common Cattail (Typha latifolia)  
    Family: Typhaceae        
                       
  Cattail  

Location: Found almost anywhere soil remains wet/flooded throughout the growth season- usually around margins of ponds, marshes, wet meadows and backwater areas of streams.

Characteristics:

  • Semiaquatic/aquatic herb
  • Height: 1.5-3 m (5-10 ft) tall
  • Flowers may/june
  • Perennial

 

   

Uses:

  • Fuzzy parts of the plant can be applied on skin to relive burns
  • Ingestion of the flowers is good against diarrhea
  • Fuzzy parts used as insulation in shelter/bedding
  • Burning the fuzzy parts around your camp area will keep insects away
  • Edible depending on the season. In the spring emerging plants can be eaten. In April/May, tender flowering spike is edible.
  • WARNING! When the flowering spike matures (extends above leaves) it becomes inedible and toxic.

Leaves:

  • 1.5-3 m (5-10 ft) tall
  • Basal, erect, flat
  • Leaves rise from vegetative shoots
  • Grayish green color

Flowering structure:

  • Found at the ends of stems
  • Dark brown, cylindrical spike
  • Staminate and pistillate portions continuous and position on top of each other

 

Cattail Fruiting body

Stem:

  • Erect, up to 3 m (10 ft) tall

Flowers:

  • Male flowers brown, clustered, up to 1 cm (.5 in) long
  • Female flowers pale green, 2-3 mm long
 
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