Common Cattail

picture of common cattailTypha latifolia

Family:
Typhaceae

Lifecycle:
Perennial

Native or Introduced:
Native

Nutrient Removal Rating:
High

image of cattail in wetland

Wildlife Value:
MediumCattail bloom spike

Invasiveness:
High

Rooted or Floating:
Rooted

Site Requirements:
Full sun to part shade

Maximum Water Depth:
12 inches

Plant Description:
Cattails are herbaceous perennials. The above ground portions grow from underground rhizomes. Shoots measure 60-120 inches in height at maturity. Leaves are covered with a waxy coating and can grow to a length of 5 feet with a width of one inch.

Large flowering spikes are produced atop tall shoots. Male flowers grow at the top while groupings of female flowers are clustered at the bottom of the spike. Flowering occurs from spring to early summer. The flowering spikes remain until early winter.

Common cattail is found in fresh or slightly brackish waters such as ponds, rivers, marshes, and ditches.

Sources:

  • Audlbach-Smith, C.A., deKozlowski, S.J. 1996. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
  • Flora of North America (see link below)

Additional reading: