Broad-leaved cattail is a tall perennial to 8'
high with thick, spongy stems and long, linear, parallel-veined, light
green leaves 3/8" to 5/8" wide. There are approximately
12-16 of these leaves per plant and they moderately exceed the female
spikes and are flat or slightly curved in cross section, and sheathed
at the base. Cattails have both staminate flower spikes, above,
and pistillate spikes below, 7"-8" long and 1-1/4" wide,
and in this species of cattail there is normally no gap between the
two spikes. The spikes are red-brown at maturity. Neither male
or female flowers have perianths. The male spikes have flowers with
simple, threadlike, white bracts, 2-7 stamens with slender filaments,
and deep orange-yellow pollen, and the female spikes have both fertile
and sterile flowers, the fertile flowers with a single-chambered ovary
and widely lanceolate stigmas, and the sterile flowers with ovaries
that are truncate to rounded. The fruit is a dry, thin-walled achene
which easily dehisces in water. Broad-leaved cattail is found in year-round
streams and at the edges of ponds and marshes, below 6000', throughout
California and ranging to Alaska, the East Coast, Central America, Europe
and Africa. It blooms from June to July. All N. American species hybridize.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Typha
Pronunciation: TIE-fa la-ti-FO-lee-a.
Click here for Botanical