Common Name: Common
Entry Author: J.
Rogers and C. Westring
Description: Native perennial herb growing to 3 meters in height. Plays an important role in the reduction of pollution by absorbing excess nitrogen and phosphorus.
Leaves: Upright leaves arising from base or alternating along the stem. Bluish or grayish green, flat, approximately 2.5 cm wide. Veins run parallel through the leaves
Flowers: Flowers are arranged in two connected spikes. Male, staminate, flowers (top spike) are of a light brown to white color. Female, pistillate, flowers (bottom spike) are darker in color and create a much wider spike
Seeds: Tiny seeds possessing a cottony "parachute" designed to float along water and air; arranged around the spike as if spokes of a wheel
Stem: Erect, 2 cm in diameter in the middle, tapering to 1 cm near flower structure
Branching Pattern: Basal
Height: 1-2.7 meters tall
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest: Fresh marshes and shallow wet areas; normally thrive in basic waters (> pH 7)
Range: Across much of the U.S. excluding the Rocky Mountain states and the Southwest. Also found throughout Eurasia and Northern Africa
Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 3-10
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide: Common
Uses (Human): Shoots and flowers can be eaten; pollen can be mixed w/ flour for high protein; rhizome may be cooked and eaten like a potato; young spikes are used to make medicinal tea; young leaves are used as salad greens.
Chadde, Steve W. A Great Lakes Wetland Flora (2nd ed.). Michigan: PocketFlora Press, 2002.
Laurentian Center Plant Key. 2000. Laurentian Environmental Center. Accessed: November 29, 2005.< http://laurentiancenter.com/plantkey/plants/cattailcommon.html>
Redington, Charles B. Plants in Wetlands. Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1994.
Rook, E. Aquatic Plants of the North: Typha latifolia. February 26, 2004. Accessed: November 29, 2005. <http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature/aquatics/typhalat.html>
United States Department of Agriculture. Common Weeds of the United States. New York: Dover Publications, 1971.
This page was created by: J. Chichester,
Northampton Community College, and K. Rice and C. Westring, Muhlenberg College
Last updated 12/21/05