PLANT PROFILE

 

NAME: Cattail (2 species)

LATIN NAME / FAMILY:           Typha angustifolia / Typhaceae
                                               
Typha latifolia / Typhaceae
OTHER COMMON NAME(S):  Small Reed Mace, Narrowleaf cattail
                                              Reedmace, Broadleaf cattail, Bullrush
CONDITIONS: sun, ponds, marsh

PARTS:

EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

 

RAW/COOK

Spring

Leaves

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

     

Stalk/Stem

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

sweet corn

RAW/COOK

 

Buds

       

Flowers

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520pollen

 

RAW/COOK

 

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

nutty

ROAST

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

sweet

RAW/COOK

 

Bark

 

 

 

 

 

PORTION: medium

 

COMMENT: Roots can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The roots can also be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours. Rich in protein, this powder is used to make biscuits etc. Young shoots in spring - asparagus substitute. Base of mature stem - best to remove the outer part of the stem. Young flowering stem tastes like sweet corn. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest, but it has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Pollen - protein rich additive to flour used in making bread, porridge etc. It can also be eaten with the young flowers, which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested.(1)

 

CAUTION: Fluff may cause skin irritation. Wash thoroughly (or boil) before eating parts raw so as to avoid picking up any infectious, water-borne microbes.(4)

 

Latifolia mean wide leaf, angustifolia means skinny leaf.  Besides that difference, the T. latifolia likes shallower water, the T. angustifolia deeper water, but it is not unusual to find them living side by side and also crossbreeding — L’angustifolia perhaps.

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Young shoots have low amounts of minerals. Pollen is high in protein. Tubers are high in calcium, iron, potassium, and carbohydrates.(4) Anticoagulant;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Galactogogue;  Haemostatic;  Miscellany;  Refrigerant; Sedative;  Tonic;  Vulnerary. (1)

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES:  Yesllow Flag & Blue Flag Iris. https://ediblewildplants.weebly.com/poisonous/blue-flag Cattail are oval at the base, not flattish.(2)

 

OTHER USES: Baby care;  Biomass;  Fibre;  Insulation;  Lighting;  Miscellany;  Oil;  Paper;  Soil stabilization;  Stuffing;  Thatching;  Tinder;  Weaving.(1)

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Typha+angustifolia &
    https://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Typha+latifolia
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/cattails-a-survival-dinner
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typha_angustifolia
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2012/09/cattails.html (good photos) Bulrush / Typha latifolia
  5. http://www.ediblewildfood.com/cattail.aspx (good photos) Bulrush / Typha latifolia
  6. https://plighttofreedom.com/narrow-leaved-cattail-edible-medicinal-cautions-uses