Cattails are commonly found on the edges of swamps and lakes and are easily identified through their tall flowering cylindrical spike at the top of the stem. These dense flowering spikes are often noted as resembling hot dogs on sticks.
|Height and Spread
|~2 m tall.
|Up to 0.25 m spread.
|Dark brown and velvety
|Light green stems and brown heads.
|July to September.
|Light and Water
|Grows on the edge of lakes or slow moving/still water in generally open light.
|Grows at the edges of wetlands, lake edges, or slow moving streams.
|Many indigenous peoples in this area ate the starchy rhizomes, leaf blades, the young flower spikes, and ate the lower stem when peeled.
|Cattails are a very important habitat and food source for many species of wetland birds and other wildlife. Just as many parts of the plant are edible to people, the leaves, roots, seeds, and shoots are all eaten by wildlife species. Cattails also provide habitat and safety for small birds above water and fish below water.
|Cattails can be a great addition to a landscaped pond area, giving it a very authentic wetland look. Cattails can be invasive due to the large amount of seeds they produce, as well as being able to spread through a dense root system. They can be controlled into an area by hand by cutting off the stems 2 or 3 inches below the water level though.
|Each seed head on a cattail can produce 200,000 to 300,000 seeds that are distributed by birds and through blowing in the wind.
|Cattail are easily propagated in wet areas through distribution of seed or through spreading root rhizomes.