BROAD-LEAF CAT-TAIL
File Size: 98 KB
 
Typha latifolia  L.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 3.5 - 10 feet tall
Family: Typhaceae - Cat-tail Family
Flowering Period:   June, July
Culms: Erect, stout, unbranched, round in cross-section, without nodes.
Leaves: Alternate, erect, long-linear, moderately exceed inflorescence, .5 to 1 inch wide, bluish-green to grayish-green, glabrous, flat on back; sheath closed, continuous with blade.
Inflorescences: Spike, cylindrical, erect, terminal, monoecious; staminate portion above, 3 to 5 inches long, contiguous with pistillate portion; pistillate portion resembles cigar, 4 to 6 inches long, .6 to 1.5 inches thick, green when young, turning brown.
Flowers: Numerous, minute, packed densely together; perianth lacking; staminate flowers consist of single stamen, drop soon after shedding pollen; pistillate flowers lacking bracts, green when young, turning brown; pistil single, on stalk bearing numerous long, downy hairs; stigmas broadly ovate to lanceolate.
Fruits: Achene, spindle-shaped, numerous downy hairs at base; seeds nut-like, dispersed by wind.
Habitat: Marshes, wetlands, pond edges, ditches, and along streams; non-saline soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Uses: Parts of this plant were extensively used by Native Americans. The roots were used as a food source, in a poultice to dress wounds, and in treatments of kidney stones. The down was used to stuff bedding and as a burn dressing. The pollen was made into flour. The leaves and stalks were used to make mats and baskets and served as a roofing material.
Comments: Cat-tails are sometimes considered weeds due to their aggressive growth. They are rhizomatous and will form dense colonies. Cat-tails provide wildlife cover.
 See also narrow-leaf cat-tail Typha angustifolia.

Broad-leaf cat-tail
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Broad-leaf cat-tail
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Broad-leaf cat-tail inflorescence
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas