Common Cattail
Typha latifolia
Typhaceae (Cattail) Family

Also known as Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper's Reed and Cumbungi.

Plant is an erect, coarsely rhizomatous (underground stem from which new growth begins) and perennial that reaches a height of six to nine feet. Preferred habitat is fresh water marshes, ponds, ditches, swales and sloughs. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are two-ranked; smooth; long-linear; nearly flat with cylindrical basal sheaths that taper into the blade.

Flowers are tiny; lacking a perianth; unisexual; numerous and in dense spikes. The mass of male flowers stand above that of the female flowers (usually seen in a smaller cylinder at the top of a flowering stem and sometimes with a space between the male and female areas.

Fruiting spikes are reddish-brown; three to eight inches long.

Underground stems, young shoots, flowers and pollen were important sources of food for Indians. The green fruit spikes may be boiled tender and eaten like
corn-on-cob.

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