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Typha latifolia

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
TY-fuh lat-ih-FOH-lee-ah
Description

Typha latifolia, commonly known as the common cattail, is a grass-like native plant to North Carolina. In nature, it can be found in the fresh waters of ponds, lakes, and marshes, including tidal freshwater marshes. It prefers full sun to part shade and wet to moist rich, loamy, sandy, or muddy soils. 

Spread by rhizomes, it can take over a small area.  It forms large colonies but can also be grown in containers.  It is native to marshes and wetlands.  It does have some drought tolerant but not considered to be drought tolerant. 

Restricted to shallow water (<30" deep). It has many available cultivars. Aggressive colonizer via rhizomes. Many human uses including food, medicine, thatching, and glue/cement.

Male flowers appear above the female flowers on each stalk.  The female has long hairs that catch pollen.  After pollination, the male portion of the stalk disintegrates and you are left with the cattail portion.   

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Can become invasive.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Variegata
Variegata
Tags:
#rain garden#water plant#food source summer#gray-green leaves#herbaceous perennial#rich soil#wetlands#yellow blades#loamy soil#sun#fruits early fall#wet soils tolerant#early summer flowers#wetland#food source mid-summer#perennial#pond edge#sunshine#medicinal#Coastal OBL#summer fruits#summer flowers#sandy soil#part sun#part shade#forb#late spring flowers#fall color yellow#ponds#bird friendly#food source#full sun#food source hard-mast fruit#pond margins#organic soils#waterfowl#highly beneficial coastal plants#container plant#early fall#full sun flowers#coastal plant#yellow leaves#herbaceous#piedmont#yellow flowers#small groups#fast growing#container#wetland margins#aggressive#standing water#frequent standing water#mid-summer flowers#spreads#wet sites#colonies#fruit#NC native#marshes#fruits#gray green leaves#yellow-green#food source roots#food source herbage#water garden#native#food source hard mast fruit#gray-green#fall color#pond#loamy soils tolerant#food source root#fall fruits#lakes#coastal#edible plant#small group plantings#loam#small and large mammals#edible#sandy soils tolerant#spreading#coastal areas#spring interest#fall color bronze#flower arrangements#ditches#partial sun#heat tolerant#mountains#audubon#marsh#drought tolerant#native garden#partial shade#showy flowers#wildlife plant#moist soil#pond garden#Piedmont Mountains OBL#summer interest#naturalized area#fall interest#native water plant#spring flowers#showy fruits
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Variegata
Variegata
Tags:
#rain garden#water plant#food source summer#gray-green leaves#herbaceous perennial#rich soil#wetlands#yellow blades#loamy soil#sun#fruits early fall#wet soils tolerant#early summer flowers#wetland#food source mid-summer#perennial#pond edge#sunshine#medicinal#Coastal OBL#summer fruits#summer flowers#sandy soil#part sun#part shade#forb#late spring flowers#fall color yellow#ponds#bird friendly#food source#full sun#food source hard-mast fruit#pond margins#organic soils#waterfowl#highly beneficial coastal plants#container plant#early fall#full sun flowers#coastal plant#yellow leaves#herbaceous#piedmont#yellow flowers#small groups#fast growing#container#wetland margins#aggressive#standing water#frequent standing water#mid-summer flowers#spreads#wet sites#colonies#fruit#NC native#marshes#fruits#gray green leaves#yellow-green#food source roots#food source herbage#water garden#native#food source hard mast fruit#gray-green#fall color#pond#loamy soils tolerant#food source root#fall fruits#lakes#coastal#edible plant#small group plantings#loam#small and large mammals#edible#sandy soils tolerant#spreading#coastal areas#spring interest#fall color bronze#flower arrangements#ditches#partial sun#heat tolerant#mountains#audubon#marsh#drought tolerant#native garden#partial shade#showy flowers#wildlife plant#moist soil#pond garden#Piedmont Mountains OBL#summer interest#naturalized area#fall interest#native water plant#spring flowers#showy fruits
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Typha
    Species:
    latifolia
    Family:
    Typhaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Many human uses including food, medicine, thatching, and glue/cement.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America, Europe, northern and central Asia, northern Afric
    Distribution:
    Marshes and wetlands
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds use the cattail as nesting material. Rhizomes are a food source for small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Textural
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat tolerant. Somewhat resistant to drought.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Water Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are brown in color. In North Carolina, fruits are available from June to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Cylindrical flower in mid to late summer; good fresh or dried in arrangements. In North Carolina, flowers are available from May to July.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Sword-like flat, gray green, leaves arise form plant base; leaves turn bright yellow in fall
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Tall, erect, and unbranched with underground stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Wet Soil