Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today

Common Cattail

Typha Latifolia

Description:

Typha leaves are alternate and mostly basal to a simple, jointless stem that eventually bears the flowering spikes. Typha plants are monoecious and bear unisexual, wind-pollinated flowers, developing in dense spikes. The numerous male flowers form a narrow spike at the top of the vertical stem. Each male (staminate) flower is reduced to a pair of stamens and hairs, and withers once the pollen is shed. The very large numbers of tiny female flowers form a dense, sausage-shaped spike on the stem below the male spike — in larger species this can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 1 to 4 centimetres (0.39 to 1.6 in) thick. Seeds are minute, 0.2 millimetres (0.0079 in) long, and attached to a fine hair. When ripe the heads disintegrate into dense cottony fluff, from which the seeds disperse by wind.

Habitat:

Cattail can be found in riparian locations.

Notes:

Cattail is a VERY useful plant. It is edible, medicinal and can be used in survival situations. The roots are full of starch which can be ground into a flour after dried. The young shoots are delicious and taste similar to cucumber. The cattail fruit and pollen can be eaten at a young stage. Seed "fluff" can be used for insulation as well as tender for fire. The clear sap can be used medicinally as an antiseptic.

No species ID suggestions

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Lat: 38.93, Long: -104.61

Spotted on Jul 12, 2013
Submitted on Jul 12, 2013

Reference

Related spottings

Cattail Bullrush Cattail Typha

Nearby spottings

Mullein Unknown spotting Broad-tailed Hummingbird Unknown spotting