Typha latifoliaa

Botanical information 6

By Malini, Menaul School

Common Name: Cattail, Common

Scientific Name: Typha latifolia

Family: Cattail (Typhaceae)

Other Common Names: Broad-leaved Cattail, Reedmace, Candlewick, Ekor Kuching (MalStem type: Common cattail leaves have no stem; the wide base of each leaf is wrapped around the stem like a sheath.

Leaf shape: Leaves of the plant are long, linear, parallel-veined, moderately planoconvex, 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch wide, and deep green in color.

Flower: The cattail flower has two parts, a female and male cigar-shaped brown formation near top of stem made up of tiny, densely-packed pistillate (female)

Flower Color: Green and then brown

Fruit: The fruit of the common cattail is a one-seeded follicle with a unilateral opening.


General Bloom Dates: May-July

Height : 3 to 10 feet

Ecological Information 7

Habitat: In or near water. Grows best in extremely moist environments including freshwater marshes, ditches, and shorelines.
Contribution to the local ecology or wildlife:
1)cattails help to provide critical habitat for many species of aquatic wild life such as waterfowl, waders, other species of birds, and mammals such as muskrats.
2) Because of their great productivity, cattails can take up large quantities of nutrients from water and sediment.
3)efficient and useful at cleansing nutrients from both natural and waste waters..
4)help to alleviate eutrophication

Ethnobotanical Information 7

Medicinal uses : poultices made from the split and bruised roots that can be applied to cuts, wounds, burns, stings, and bruises. The ash of the burned cattail leaves can be used as an antiseptic or styptic for wounds. A small drop of a honey-like excretion, often found near the base of the plant, can be used as an antiseptic for small wounds and toothaches.

Building material: The leaves can be used for construction of shelters or for woven seats and backs of chairs, which has been a traditional use for hundreds of years.

Artistry: They can be woven into baskets, hats, mats, and beds. The dried seed heads attached to their stalks can be dipped into melted animal fat or oil and used as torches.

Edible parts: The lower parts of the leaves can be used in a salad; the young stems can be eaten raw or boiled; the young flowers (cattails) can be roasted. Yellow pollen (appears mid-summer) of the cattail can be added to pancakes for added nutrients.

Interesting recipes using cattails 7

1. Scalloped Cattails

2 cups of chopped cattail tops
2 eggs
½ cup melted butter
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup milk (scalded at 180°F)
Mix the cattail tops, eggs, butter, sugar, nutmeg, and black pepper in a bowl while slowly adding the scalded milk, and blend well.
Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish, top with grated Swiss cheese (optional), and add a dab of butter. Bake at 275°F for 30 minutes.
2. Cattail Pollen Biscuits

3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/3 cup flour
¼ cup cattail pollen
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp. shortening
1/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Mix all ingredients.
Cut the dough into biscuit shapes, and bake them at 425 for 20 minutes.

3. Cattail Pollen Pancakes

½ cup cattail
½ cup flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp. bacon drippings
Mix all ingredients.
Pour onto a hot skillet or griddle in four-inch pancake amounts.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Petritap, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  2. (c) lucyliang1, all rights reserved, uploaded by lucyliang1,
  3. (c) Gerry Bates, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  4. (c) Horacio Sirolli, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  5. (c) tenzintseyang, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  6. Adapted by smiller33 from a work by (c) lucyliang1, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  7. (c) lucyliang1, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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iNat Map

Fruit brown