Typha latifolia

Typha latifolia

Typha latifolia (Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Common Cattail, or Cat-o'-nine-tails) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the genus Typha, which grows in temperate, subtropical and tropical areas throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It grows in marshy areas and flowers in mid to late summer.

The common cattail shares its range with other related species, and hybridizes with Typha angustifolia, narrow leaf cattail, to form Typha x glauca (Typha angustifolia x T. latifolia), white cattail. Common cattail is usually found in shallower water than narrow leaf cattail.

The plant is 1.5 to 3 metres high and it has two to four centimetre broad leaves.


The rhizomes of Typha latifolia were eaten by many first peoples of North America, as well as the leaf bases and young flower spikes. The rhizomes can be consumed after cooking and removing the skin, while the peeled stems and leaf bases can be eaten raw or cooked.

While Typha latifolia grows all over, including in rural areas, it is not advisable to eat specimens deriving from polluted water as it is used as a bioremediator, it absorbs pollutants. Do not eat them if they taste very bitter or spicy.

The Hopi Kachinas give it to children with toys attached such as bows and dolls during the Home Dance.

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