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Scientific Name:

Typha (taxonomic genus)


Herbaceous Plant


Near ponds, streams, and marshes




Many species are Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Cattails are very recognizable plants found near water. Cattail seed heads are long, brown, and narrow like cigars. Their eaves are long, flat, gray/green in color and are basal (leaves form in pairs oppositely attached from each other).

Fast Facts:

  • Cattails have a myriad of uses. Their long narrow leaves have been used in weaving for shelter, baskets, and mats.

  • The young cattail shoots can be eaten raw or boiled.

  • The pollen can be collected and used in pancake batter, bread, muffins, etc.

  • The dried brown flower heads when removed can be used as a down-like fluff for pillows, padding for shoes, or comforters.

  • Cattails have also been used effectively in phytoremediation projects (using plants to remove harmful chemicals, waste, or heavy metals from the soil or water) such as sewage waste systems!


  • “Willow Bark & Rosehips: An Introduction to Common Edible and Useful Wild Plants of North America” by Fritz Springmeyer.

  • “Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals from Urban Waste Leachate by Southern Cattail” from the International Journal of Scientific Research in Environmental Sciences.


Haley McGuire (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

May 27, 2021 at 11:12:44 PM

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