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Typha latifolia


Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail,<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> bulrush, common bulrush, common cattail, cat-o'-nine-tails, great reedmace, cooper's reed, cumbungi) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the genus Typha. It is found as a native plant species in North and South America, Europe, Eurasia, and Africa.<ref name=GISD>"Typha latifolia (aquatic plant)", Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2011-02-21.</ref> In Canada, broadleaf cattail occurs in all provinces and also in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and in the United States, it is native to all states except Hawaii.<ref>Flora of North America vol 22 p 282.</ref><ref name=FEIS>"Typha latifolia, U.S. Forest Service Fire Effects Information Database", U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2011-02-20</ref> It is an introduced and invasive species, and considered a noxious weed, in Australia and Hawaii.<ref>"Typha latifolia (Typhaceae) Species description or overview", Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR). Retrieved 2011-02-21.</ref> It is not native but has been reported in Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.<ref name=GISD />

Typha latifolia has been found in a variety of climates, including tropical, subtropical, southern and northern temperate, humid coastal, and dry continental.<ref name=FEIS /> It is found at elevations from sea level to 7,500 feet (2,300 m).

Typha latifolia is an "obligate wetland" species, meaning that it is always found in or near water.<ref name=PLANTS>"USDA Plant Guide: Typha latifolia", United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-20.</ref> The species generally grows in flooded areas where the water depth does not exceed 2.6 feet (0.8 meters).<ref>"Broadleaf Cattail", Utah State University Cooperative Extension. Retrieved 2011-02-20.</ref> However, it has also been reported growing in floating mats in slightly deeper water.<ref name=FEIS /> T. latifolia grows mostly in fresh water but also occurs in slightly brackish marshes.<ref name=PLANTS /> The species can displace other species native to salt marshes upon reduction in salinity. Under such conditions the plant may be considered invasive, since it interferes with preservation of the salt marsh habitat.<ref name=PLANTS />

Typha latifolia shares its range with other related species, and hybridizes with Typha angustifolia, narrow-leaf cattail, to form Typha × glauca (Typha angustifolia × T. latifolia), white cattail.<ref name=FEIS /> Common cattail is usually found in shallower water than narrow-leaf cattail.

The plant is 1.5 to 3 metres (5 to 10 feet) high and it has 2–4 cm (¾ to 1½ inch) broad leaves, and will generally grow out in to 0.75 to 1 metre (2 to 3 feet) of water depth.

Typha latifolia is called totora, espadaña común, tule espidilla, or piriope in Spanish; roseau des étangs in French; tifa or mazzasorda in Italian, and tabua-larga in Portuguese.<ref name=GISD />


Traditionally, Typha latifolia has been a part of certain indigenous cultures of British Columbia, as a source of food, medicine, and for other uses. The rhizomes are edible after cooking and removing the skin, while peeled stems and leaf bases can be eaten raw, or cooked. Young flower spikes are edible as well.<ref name="Turner">Turner, Nancy J. Food Plants of Interior First Peoples (Victoria: UBC Press, 1997) Template:ISBN</ref>

While Typha latifolia grows all over, including in rural areas, it is not advisable to eat specimens deriving from polluted water as it absorbs pollutants and in fact is used as a bioremediator. Specimens with a very bitter or spicy taste should not be eaten.<ref>YouTube - Wild Living with Sunny: episode 4 Video describing collection and cooking of common cattail.</ref>


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