Common Water Weeds – Cattails

Typha (Cattail) is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Typhaceae. These plants have a wide range of known names; from bulrush or wild corndog in Britain, to reed, cattail,swamp sausage, or punks in America and cumbungi or bulrush in Australia. Cattails are among the most common of all aquatic plants.

Scientific Name: Typha

Origins: Two species of cattail are native to Florida: Typha domingensis (southern cattail) and Typha latifolia (common cattail). They can reach 8 or more feet tall and grow prolifically from thick, underground rhizomes.

Habitats: Cattails are often the dominant plant species in marshes, retention ponds, and ditches; especially where water levels fluctuate. They can cover large areas in dense monocultures. They are common in wetland areas in temperate and cold regions of both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

Eco-Impacts: The plants are often home to many insects, amphibians and birds, and some animals, such as muskrats, consume cattails. The disintegrating heads also are used by some birds to line their nests.  Longer term, the spread of cattails in some systems is a part of the process of open water bodies being converted to vegetated marshland and eventually dry land.

The dense growth can make recreational endeavors such as swimming and fishing difficult, not to mention obscuring shoreline views.