Cattails

Scientific Name:

Typha (taxonomic genus)

Type:

Herbaceous Plant

Habitat:

Near ponds, streams, and marshes

Range:

Worldwide

Status:

Many species are Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

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!

Sources:

  • “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.

Contributor(s):

Haley McGuire (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

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