Botanical name: Typha
Botanical name: Typha
Species of Cattails
Narrowleaf cattail is a perennial cattail often seen in North America. It grows in marshy areas. Parts of this plant are edible, but beware its lookalike, Yellow Flag, which is poisonous.
Broadleaf cattails grow on the borders between wet and dry land. They tend to form dense monocultures that can take over wetland areas. Their starchy roots were staple food sources for some indigenous peoples. Broadleaf cattail leaves can be used for mats and roof thatching, and the feathery, water-repellant seeds make good filling for bedding and life jackets.
Southern cattail is a perennial found across the globe. It is known to reduce the bacterial contamination of water. This aquatic herb can be highly invasive and take over small ponds where little other foliage grows. The leaves have been used by Native Americans for thatching roofs of huts and the pulp of the seed pods as stuffing for bedding.
Shuttleworth's cat o' nine tails
The shuttleworth's cat o' nine tails (Typha shuttleworthii) is a species of cattail often found in large colonies in wetland and marsh ecosystems. Though they are not invasive, they are very competitive and are usually the dominant species over other flora growing in the area.
The Shuttleworth cattail grows as a deciduous, perennial herbaceous plant that reaches stature heights of 80 to 150, rarely up to 200 centimeters. As a means of survival, it forms subterranean creeping rhizomes. The alternately arranged on the stem leaves are simple, bright green, 7 to 11 millimeters wide and often tower over the inflorescence.
Typha capensis is an aquatic plant known from southern and eastern Africa as far north as Uganda. It has also been reported from Brazil. The rhizomes of Typha capensis are used medicinally in southern Africa. It is reported to improve circulation and to enhance male libido and performance.
Dwarf bulrush is a popular hardy semi-evergreen for small ponds and large aquatic tubs. It is best planted in a water basket due to the creeping nature of its rhizomes. This pond plant flowers in the summer, with its seed heads bursting in the spring. It can be used for dried flower arrangements.
Graceful cattail (Typha laxmannii) gets its Latin name in honor of the Finnish-Swedish clergyman and botanist Erik Gustavovich Laxmann (1737-1796). This water plant is grown ornamentally in shallow water beside ponds and other water features, and attracts birds and other wildlife. This quick-spreading plant is classed as an invasive species in the US states of New Hampshire and Wisconsin.