Cattails, of the genus Typha
, are a plant abundant in wetland
s around the world. They are charactarized by their long, thin grass
like leaves, somewhat large tuber
s, and by the 'hot dog
' shaped masses of seed borne on tall stems late in the year. Cattails are fast-growing plants which depend on large amounts of nitrogen
to survive. They are charactaristic of most open marshland
around the US. They have also become abundant in other areas, such as Australia
, where they are not native. In these places they are somewhat of a weed
. Cattails can also become weedy in their natural habitat
if too much fertillizer
is dumped into the water. for instance, the everglades
, where once cattails were rare, is now quite overrun with them in places where irrigation runs off of fertillized fields.
the Native Americans used the tubers of these plants as food in certain times of the year. They also sometimes used the 'down' to help start fires. Cattails are pleasant plants, but not useable in an urban landscape unless you have a pond or other permenant source of standing water.