Leaf, Flowers Flower Clusters
& Rhizome (=Inflorescence)
Fruit Cluster (Infructescence)
- split, showing windborne seeds
Habitat: Marshes, swamps, river borders,
ponds and ditches. It is one of the most
common plants in marshes and swamps.
Often found in dense stands.
Range: Found in every state in the United States.
Also found in many provinces and territories in Canada.
Leaves: Green, 7.5 inches long and 1 foot across.
Flat and linear.
Flowers: Male flowers form a spike at the top
of the stem. Female flowers are numerous and
dense and form below the male flowers.
Fruits: Brown and round with fine hairs.
Stems: Rhizome (underground stem) grows
horizontal and grows upwards.
Similar Species: Typha angustifloia (narrow
leaf cattail). Unlike in T. latifolia, there is a zone
of separation between the regions with male and
Parts of the plant that are submerged are well-
supplied with air via intercellular channels in
the leaves, stem and roots. Air flow is
facilitated by internal pressurization and pressure
differences (i.e. throughflow convection) between
different parts of the plant.
Cattails can grow in sites with highly reduced substrates
with low oxygen availability in sediments and areas
of relatively high acidity having high levels of
reduced metal ions.
Cattail wetlands have an excellent ability to treat
Typha is able to remove arsenic from drinking water.
Many of its parts are edible to people.
Heads are used by some birds for lining their nest.
Heads were used by some Native American tribes to
line moccasins and bedding.
Typha spreads clonally via growth of rhizomes
(underground horizontal stems) and seeds
carried by wind.
Bendix, M., Tornbjerg, T, and H. Brix. 1994. Internal gas transport in Typha latifolia L. and
Typha angustifolia L. 1. Humidity-induced pressurization and convective throughflow.
Ciria, M. P., Solana, M. L., and P. Soriano. 2005. Role of Macrophyte Typhalatifolia in a
Constructed Wetland for Wastewater Treatment and Assessment of Its Potential as a Biomass
Fuel. Biosystems Engineering 92: 535–544
Dickerman, J. A. and Wetzel, R. G. 1985. Clonal growth in Typha latifolia: population dynamics
and demography of the ramets. Journal of Ecology 73:535-552.
Jespersen, D. N., Sorrell B. K., and H. B. Brix. 1998. Growth and root oxygen release by Typha
latifolia and its effects on sediment methanogenesis Aquatic Botany 61:165-180.