Typha latifolia

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  • Cattail | Cattail (Typha latifolia) Photo: Phill Roeder
  • Cattail | Cattail (Typha latifolia) Photo: Phill Roeder by v8.6m

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Basic Information

Other names

Common Cattail, Broadleaf Cattail






6-12 ft

Leaf Color


Leaf Complexity


Leaf Shape


Blooming Season

Spring - Early Summer

Bloom Color

Yellow , Green , Brown


Birds, Waterfowl, Fish

Can I eat Cattail?

The rootstock of Cattails is mostly starch and edible and was consume by Native Americans and early colonists. Young shoots and immature flower spikes can be eaten as well.

Medicinal uses for Cattail

Medicinally Cattails were used in a wide array by Native Americans; poultice roots were used to treat scalds and sores. Fuzz from mature female flowers was applied to burns and used a dressing. The Cheyenne used a powdered root to ease abdominal cramps.

Cattail Habitat

Cattails (Typha latifolia) thrive across the country where wetland is changing to a dry habitat. They occur in freshwater from sea level to 7,000 ft. in water usually about a half foot deep.

Cattail Facts

Cattails (Typha latifolia) grow in transition environments from coast to coast, meaning, where water is slowly drying up. They can grow to nearly 12 ft. in the right circumstances. They have broad linear leaves and a brown a stout-stemmed perennial, 4-8 ft. tall, often in found dense clumps. Broad linear leaf blades. The dense, brown, tubular flowering spike that fades to soft mass of white seeds in the fall. Cattails have been used by Native American Tribes for centuries. Its seed when mixed with ash and lime form a cement like substance. Its leaves were used to make roofs, woven mats and sandals. Its stems make a sticky adhesive that was as a caulk to fix leaks. More recently, during WWII the United States Navy used the water-repellent buoyant seeds to stuff life vests for sailors.

Cattail Distribution

See also