FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Typha latifolia

Typha latifolia L.

 

Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderTyphalesA group including reedlike wetland plants such as cattails
FamilyTyphaceaePlants, such as cattails, with a single flower spike that has both male and female flowers
GenusTyphaFrom Greek tufh (typhe), “cattail”
SpecieslatifoliaFrom Latin latus, “broad,” and folius, “leaf”: broadleaved

About plant names...

Common cattail is a very familiar inhabitant of wet areas throughout the Americas, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a vigorous colonizer of disturbed areas with shallow water for much or all of the season. It forms dense colonies, spreading by cloning itself, and is common in roadside drainage ditches and ponds and swamps. In fact, cattails have thrived because humans are always reshaping the landscape. Over time, they are replaced by other species, still present but less dominant.

Identification: Plants are 3-9½' (1-3 m) tall, with long, thick, flat, straplike pointed leaves like giant grass blades. Leaves are ⅛-1" (6-29 mm) wide and up to 8' (2.5 m) long. A single stout smooth stem, up to ½" (1.3 cm) around, supports the flowerhead. A large sausage-shaped female flowerhead is the most noticeable characteristic. It is ⅝-1¾" (1.8-5 cm) thick and 6-10" (15-25 cm) tall. Above it is a narrower spike of male flowers, sometimes separated from the male spike by up to 1½" (3.8 cm). Flowers appear from June to July. As the plant ages, the male flowers wither, and the female spike turns dark brown, feeling like dense felt. If the flowers were fertilized, they produce small nutlike achenes or seeds. Gradually the seeds peel away from the stem, floating on windborne parachutes to begin again.

These plants hybridize freely with narrower varieties, so there are many subtle variations. We distinguish here only between this and Typha angustifolia, narrow-leaved cattails.

Edibility: Cattail roots may be eaten after peeling and cooking them. Leaf bases and peeled stems are edible, cooked or raw. Young flower spikes are also edible.

Online References:

Typha latifolia on Wikipedia

Typha latifolia on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Typha latifolia at Illinois Wildflowers

Typha latifolia on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Typha latifolia on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Typha latifolia on the USDA Plants Database

Typha latifolia on FLORIDATA

Typha latifolia on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Typha latifolia on eFloras

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

6/16/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 21 × 26" (52 × 67 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

7/26/2009 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

8/21/2013 · Rte 119, Groton, MA
≈ 16 × 24" (39 × 59 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

9/20/2009 · ME

Typha latifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

11/7/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 21 × 24" (52 × 60 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 12 × 19" (31 × 49 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

11/7/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 16 × 22" (41 × 55 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

6/26/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 31 × 46" (78 × 117 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

7/3/2010

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

6/26/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

I don't know why this one looks twisted. · 9/17/2012 · Blood Dragon Ravine, Jeff Smith Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm) ID is dubious

Typha latifolia (Common Cattail, Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper’s Reed, Cumbungi)

9/25/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Range:

About this map...