|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||106 kJ (25 kcal)|
|- Sugars||0.22 g|
|- Dietary fiber||4.5 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||1 μg (0%)|
|- beta-carotene||6 μg (0%)|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.023 mg (2%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.025 mg (2%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.440 mg (3%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.234 mg (5%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.123 mg (9%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||3 μg (1%)|
|Choline||23.7 mg (5%)|
|Vitamin C||0.7 mg (1%)|
|Vitamin K||22.8 μg (22%)|
|Calcium||54 mg (5%)|
|Iron||0.91 mg (7%)|
|Magnesium||63 mg (18%)|
|Manganese||0.760 mg (36%)|
|Phosphorus||45 mg (6%)|
|Potassium||309 mg (7%)|
|Sodium||109 mg (7%)|
|Zinc||0.24 mg (3%)|
|Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Typha (pron.: //) is a genus of about eleven species of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Typhaceae. The genus has a largely Northern Hemisphere distribution, but is essentially cosmopolitan, being found in a variety of wetland habitats.
These plants are conspicuous and hence have many common names. They may be known in British English as bulrush, or reedmace, in American English as cattail, catninetail, punks, or corn dog grass, in Australia as cumbungi or bulrush, and in New Zealand as raupo. Typha should not be confused with other plants known as bulrush, such as some sedges (mostly in Scirpus and related genera).
Typha leaves are alternate and mostly basal to a simple, jointless stem that eventually bears the flowering spikes. Typha plants are monoecious and bear unisexual, wind-pollinated flowers, developing in dense spikes. The numerous male flowers form a narrow spike at the top of the vertical stem. Each male (staminate) flower is reduced to a pair of stamens and hairs, and withers once the pollen is shed. The very large numbers of tiny female flowers form a dense, sausage-shaped spike on the stem below the male spike — in larger species this can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 1 to 4 centimetres (0.39 to 1.6 in) thick. Seeds are minute, 0.2 millimetres (0.0079 in) long, and attached to a fine hair. When ripe the heads disintegrate into dense cottony fluff, from which the seeds disperse by wind.
General ecology 
Typha is often among the first wetland plants to colonize areas of newly exposed wet mud, with its abundant wind dispersed seeds. It can also survive in the soil for long periods with buried seeds. It germinates best with sunlight and fluctuating temperatures, which is typical of many wetland plants that regenerate on mud flats. It also spreads by rhizomes, forming large interconnected stands. Hence, it has three interlocking reproductive strategies: dominance of local habitats by clonal growth, survival of long inhospitable periods with buried seeds, and dispersal to new sites with wind-dispersed seeds. This may explain in part why the species is so widespread.
It is considered to be a dominant competitor in wetlands, and often excludes other plants with its dense canopy. In large fertile bays along the Great Lakes, for example, may be by far the most abundant wetland plant. Different species of cattails, are, however, adapted to different water depths.
Owing to the well-developed aerenchyma, it is quite resistant to flooding. Even the dead stalks are capable of transmitting oxygen to the rooting zone.
Although this is a natural species of wetlands, there is growing concern about the degree to which it is replacing other native species. This problem is known in habitats ranging from the Great Lakes to the Everglades. Native sedges are being displaced, and wet meadows are shrinking. This is likely a response to altered hydrology of these wetlands, and to increased nutrient levels. However, an introduced or hybrid species may be contributing to the problem as well.
Control is difficult. The most successful strategy appears to be mowing or burning (to remove the aerenchymous stalks) followed by prolonged flooding.  However, it may be more important to be preemptive by maintaining wide water level fluctuations (including periods of drought) along with infertile conditions to prevent invasion in the first place.
It is frequently eaten by wetland mammals such as muskrats which may also use it to construct feeding platforms and dens.
- Typha angustifolia - Lesser Bulrush, Narrow Leaf Cattail (America) or Jambu (India)
- Typha domingensis - Bulrush, Southern Cattail (America) or Narrow-leaved Cumbungi (Australia)
- Typha × glauca (angustifolia × latifolia) - Hybrid or White Cattail. Sterile hybrid.
- Typha latifolia - Common Cattail
- Typha laxmannii - Laxman's Bulrush
- Typha minima - Dwarf Bulrush
- Typha orientalis - Broadleaf Cumbungi (Australia) or Raupo (New Zealand)
- Typha capensis - Cape bulrush
- Typha shuttleworthii - Shuttleworth's Bulrush
The most widespread species is Typha latifolia, extending across the entire temperate northern hemisphere. T. angustifolia is nearly as widespread, but does not extend so far north; some believe it is introduced and invasive in North America. T. domingensis is a more southerly American and Australian species, extending from the U.S. to South America. T. orientalis is widespread in eastern & northern Australia, temperate & tropical Asia, New Zealand. T. laxmannii, T. minima, and T. shuttleworthii are largely restricted to Asia and parts of southern Europe. Typha latifolia has also been recently introduced into fresh water creeks and lakes in Australia where the water is shallow and contains levels of dirty, turbid water. It affects the flow of the water and also filters the water and catches floating or submerged items, possibly damming the water flow.
Culinary uses 
Typha has a wide variety of parts that are edible to humans. The rhizomes, underground lateral stems, are a nutritious and energy-rich food source. The content of protein is comparable to the one of maize or rice. When processed into flour, the rhizomes contain 266 kcal per 100 g. They are generally harvested from late autumn to early spring. These are starchy, but also fibrous, so the starch must be scraped or sucked from the tough fibers. If the plants grow in polluted water the rhizomes can accumulate lead or residues of pesticides and should not be eaten.
The outer portion of young plants can be peeled and the heart can be eaten raw or boiled and eaten like asparagus. This portion of Typha has often been called the ”Cossack asparagus”, as it has been of great popularity with the Cossacks in Russia. The bases of the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, in late spring when they are young and tender. In early summer the sheath can be removed from the developing green flower spike which can then be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. In mid-summer, once the male flowers are mature, the pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener.
The seeds have a high lineoleic content and are considered suitable to feed cattle and chicken.
Building material 
Around the Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia, Typha has been used to construct rafts and boats. For the local tribes, Typha was one of the most important plants and every part of the plant had multiple uses.
During World War II, the United States Navy used the down of Typha as a substitute for kapok in life vests and aviation jackets. Tests showed that even after 100 hours of submersion the buoyancy was still warranted.
Typha stems and leaves can be used to make paper. The paper is strong with a heavy texture and hard to bleach. Therefore it is not very suitable for industrial production of graphical paper. In 1853 considerable amounts of cattail paper were produced in New York, due to a shortage of raw materials. In 1948 French scientists tested methods for annual harvesting of the leaves. Because of the high cost these methods where abandoned and no further research was done. Today paper from Typha is merely used as an expensive decorative paper.
Fibers with a length of 2 - 4 metres can be obtained from the stems, when mechanically or chemically treated with sodium hydroxide. The fibers resemble jute and can be used to produce raw textiles. The fibers in the leaves can be used as an alternative to cotton and line in clothing. The yield of leaf fibers is 30 - 40 percent and Typha glauca, can produce 7 – 10 tons per hectare annually.
Typha can be used as a source of starch to produce ethanol. Because of their high productivity in northern latitudes, Typha is considered as a bio-energy crop. They have the advantage that they grow in wetlands, do not require much maintenance and don’t compete with food crops.
Other uses 
Some Native American tribes also used Typha down to line moccasins, and for bedding, diapers, baby powder, and papoose boards (Cradle boards). One Native American word for Typha meant "fruit for papoose's bed". Some people still use Typha down to stuff clothing items and pillows.
Typha can be dipped in wax or fat and then lit as a candle, the stem serving as a wick. It can also be lit without the use of wax or fat, and it will smolder slowly, somewhat like incense, and may repel insects.
One informal experiment has indicated that Typha is able to remove the poisonous element arsenic from drinking water. Such a filtration system may be one way to provide cheap water filtration for people in developing nations.
- Clegg, J. (1986). Observer's Book of Pond Life. Frederick Warne, London. 460 p.
- Revedin, A; Aranguren, B; Becattini, R; Longo, L; Marconi, E; Lippi, MM; Skakun, N; Sinitsyn, A; Spiridonova, E et al. (2010). "Thirty thousand-year-old evidence of plant food processing". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107 (44): 18815–18819. Bibcode:2010PNAS..10718815R. doi:10.1073/pnas.1006993107. PMC 2973873. PMID 20956317.
- van der Valk, A. G. and Davis, C. B. (1976). The seed banks of prairie glacial marshes. Canadian Journal of Botany, 54, 1832–8.
- Shipley, B., Keddy, P. A., Moore, D. R. J., and Lemky, K. (1989). Regeneration and establishment strategies of emergent macrophytes. Journal of Ecology, 77, 1093–110.
- Keddy, Paul A. (2010). Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation. Cambridge University Press. p. 497. ISBN 978-0-521-51940-3.
- Grace, J. B. and Wetzel, R. G. (1981). Habitat partitioning and competitive displacement in cattails (Typha): experimental field studies. The American Naturalist, 118, 463–74.
- Boers, A. M., Veltman, R. L. D., and Zedler, J. B. (2007) Typha x glauca dominance and extended hydroperiod constrain restoration of wetland diversity. Ecological Engineering, 29, 232–44.
- Kaminski, R. M., Murkin, H. M., and Smith, C. E. (1985). Control of cattail and bulrush by cutting and flooding. In Coastal Wetlands, eds. H. H. Prince and F. M. D’Itri, pp. 253–62. Chelsea, MI: Lewis Publishers.
- Selbo, Sarena M.; Snow, Allison A. (2004). "The potential for hybridization between Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia in a constructed wetland". Aquatic Botany 78 (4): 361–369. doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2004.01.003. More than one of
- Morton, Julia F. (January - March 1975). "Cattails (Typha spp.) – Weed Problem or Potential Crop?". Economic Botany 29 (1): 7–29.
- Gore, Alfred B. (2007). Environmental Research at the Leading Edge. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 106.
- Marsh, L.C. (1959). "The Cattail Story". The Garden Journal 5: 114–129.
- Elias, Thomas S.; Dykeman, Peter A. (2009) . Edible Wild Plants. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-1-4027-6715-9.
- "Te Papa - Tai Awatea / Knowledge Net - Raupo or Bulrush (Typha orientalis)". Tpo.tepapa.govt.nz. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- Reed, E.; Marsh L. C. (1955). "The Cattail Potential". Chemurgic Digest. 3 14: 9, 18.
- Miller, Delena Tull ; illustrations by Michael Earney ... [et al.] ; photographs by George Oxford (1999). Edible and useful plants of Texas and the southwest : including recipes, harmful plants, natural dyes, and textile fibers : a practical guide. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-292-78164-1.
- Making aquatic weeds useful : some perspectives for developing countries. [Ottawa] : National Research Council.: Books for Business. 1976. p. 101. ISBN 0-89499-180-9.
- Dubbe, D. R.; Garver E. G., Pratt D. C. (1988). "Production of cattail (Typha spp.) biomass in Minnesota,USA". Elsevier.
- Heldreth, David (August 11, 2008). "Cattails can be Ethanol Source". Blue Mountain Eagle (Grant County, Oregon). Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- "Inexpensive Arsenic Filtration System Based on Cattails Could Help Clean Up the Drinking Water of 57 Million People".
- Maiden, Joseph Henry (1889). Useful Native Plants of Australia (incl. Tasmania). Sydney: Technological Mus. New South Wales.