Typha latifolia (Common Cattail) - photos and description

 


Close-up of male flowers in above photo. 

General: Marsh or aquatic plant with a round stem and long leaves. Rhizomatous, usually found in large colonies, often the dominant plant species. Plant glabrous.

Flowers: Flowers in terminal spikes, male flowers above the female flowers. The male flower spike is light brown, the female spike is dark brown. The male flowers blow away once their pollen is shed, the female flower spike is persistent over the summer. A male flower spike was measured at 14 cm long, and a female flower spike was measured at 15 cm long and 2.5 cm wide.

Leaves: Leaves alternate, sheath the stem, bluish-green to greyish-green in colour. We measured a leaf at 100 cm long and 20 mm wide. 

Height: Height listed in Flora of Alberta to 200 cm, we measured plants to 178 cm tall.

Habitat: Slough margins, riverbanks, marshes, lakeshores.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

Similar species: This plant is very similar to Typha angustifolia (Narrow-Leaved Cattail), and the two species can be found in wetlands growing alongside one another.

- T. angustifolia has a gap of several centimetres between its male and female flowers, while T. latifolia has no gap between its male and female flowers.

- T. angustifolia has narrow leaves growing to 1 cm wide, while T. latifolia has wider leaves growing to 3 cm wide.

- More generally, T. angustifolia grows taller than, and looks more slender than T. latifolia.

 

When and where photographed: Above photos were taken July 1st, along ATV trail in wetland, about 60 km southeast of our home in Regina, SK.