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Cattail
Typhaceae
Typha latifolia


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb




Typhaceae Family

Typha Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Bulrush, Bullrush, Reedmace, Punks


Location

Origin & Range: While the broad-leaved cattail is native to the States, the narrow-leaved cattails are believed to have been introduced to the Atlantic seaboard from European ships. It is a widespread plant, found throughout most of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Physical Description
Cattail Family (Typhaceae). Cattails are herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial plants with long, slender green stalks topped with brown, fluffy, sausage-shaped flowering heads. Typha latifolia plants are 15-30 dm tall. The spike-like, terminal, cylindric inflorescence has staminate flowers above and pistillate flowers below with a naked axis between the staminate and pistillate flowers. The spike is green when fresh, becoming brown as it matures. The basal leaves are thin with parallel veins running the long, narrow length of the leaf. These plants are rhizomatous and colonial.


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Typhaceae
Poales
Poales
Commelinidae
Monocots
Monocots
One First-Leaves (Monocots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The Klamath and Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon make flexible baskets of twined tule or cattail. Cattails or tules were also twined to form mats of varying sizes for sleeping, sitting, working, entertaining, covering doorways, for shade, and a myriad of other uses.
The Cahuilla Indians used the stalks for matting, bedding material, and ceremonial bundles. Some tribes used the leaves and sheath bases as caulking materials. Apaches used the pollen in female puberty ceremonies. After dipping the spike in coal oil, the stalk makes a fine torch. The fluff can also be used as tinder, insulation, or for lining baby cradleboards. The down is used for baby beds
Native American tribes used the crushed rhizomes as a topical ointment for sores and inflamed wounds. The flowering stem was steeped as a tea for coughs. The 'fluff' from the matured seeds was used as a styptic (to stop bleeding), to cover burns, and prevent chafing.
Cattails have been called the most useful of all wild plants as sources of emergency food. Every part of the plant is edible, but some parts are not very nice to eat. The young tender shoots are eaten raw or cooked. The rhizome is often very tough but is a rich source of starch. Pound the rhizome to remove the starch and use as a flour. The pollen is also an exceptional source of starch. When the cattail is immature and still green, you can boil the female portion and eat it like corn on the cob.




Cattail




Cattail




Cattail


Comment: Cattail, Typha latifolia

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