Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Typha latifolia L.
- Family: Cattail (Typhaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: This species has at least 8 leaves per stem, the leaves usually more than 1/2 inch wide. The female spike is usually at least 1 inch thick.
- Habitat: Marshes, in and along streams, around lakes and ponds.
- Habit: Coarse perennial herb with stout, branching rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, up to 10 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate, elongated, at least 8 per stem, some of them usually at least 1 inch wide, always at least 1/2 inch wide.
- Flowers: Male and female borne separately in spikes on the same plant; male spike formed directly above the female spike and falling away after pollen is shed, pale brown; female spike thick, up to 10 inches long, up to 1 1/2 inches thick, dark
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 2-5 per flower.
- Pistils: 1 per flower, the ovary superior.
- Fruits: Achenes ellipsoid, about 1/20 inch long, subtended by fine hairs.
- Notes: There is considerable intergradation and probable hybridization between cattails so that intermediate specimens are often encountered. The achenes are eaten by waterfowl. The leaves are used by muskrats for building nests.
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