Common Cattail, Broadleaf Cattail (Typha latifolia)


This wildflower is a member of the Typhaceae (Cat-Tail Family).
A semi-aquatic perennial herb, 3-10 feet tall which forms dense stands. The flowers are tiny and numerous (thousands per plant). Found in shallow water of ponds, ditches and marshes (May thru winter). Almost every part of the cattail has a practical use: the peeled rhizomes can be cooked like a potato or dried and made into protein-rich flour. The young shoots are juicy with a nutty flavor. The base of the leaves can be eaten like an artichoke and the flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. The pollen can be used as flour without grinding or can be eaten with honey as a dessert. The leaves are not edible but can be woven into mats, seats and baskets. The fluffy white fruits have been used by hikers and campers as extra padding in shoes and as stuffing in pillows and sleeping bags.

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