Typhaceae - cattail family
 

WeedsPoisonous PlantsHay Fever
Gerald A. Mulligan (Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, retired)
Typha angustifolia L., narrow-leaved cattail, quenouille à feuilles étroites
An erect, rhizomatous, semiaquatic to aquatic perennial herb. Stems stout, erect, 3 to 6 feet ( 9 to 18 dm.) high. Fruiting spikes consist of a male section above and a female section below, with a clear separation between the two sections. The female section becomes cigar-shape and has soft downy seeds. Leaves of narrow-leaved cattail usually extend above the fruiting spike. Although native to North America, it almost always grows in disturbed soil that remains wet, saturated, or flooded for most of the season. It can grow in water exceeding 2 1/2 feet (90 dm.). Narrow-leaved cattail occurs in the northern United States (not Alaska) and southern Canada.. Hybrids between it and cattail are common where they occur together in habitats with fluctuating water/moisture levels.

Typha latifolia L., cattail, quenouille à feuilles larges
An erect, rhizomatous, semiaquatic to aquatic perennial herb. Stems erect, 5 to 10 feet (15 to 30 dm.) high. Fruiting spikes consist of a male section above and a female section below, with no separation between the two sections. Leaves of cattail usually do not extend above the fruiting spike. Native to North America, occurring wherever soil remains wet, saturated or flooded for most of the growing season. Unlike narrow-leaved cattail, it often occurs in undisturbed habitats. Cattail is generally restricted to a water depth of less than 2 ½ feet (90 dm.). When the two cattails grow together in a body of water, cattail is mostly in the shallowest part and narrow-leaved cattail is in the deeper water. Both of these cattails may occur with or near purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria L. However, purple loosestrife, not being aquatic or semiaquatic, is restricted to areas that do not remain under water during its active growing period. Cattail occurs throughout North America, with its range extending northward to Alaska and some of the arctic islands.

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Weed Name Photo Weed Name Photo
narrow-leaved cattail, quenouille à feuilles étroites narrow-leaved cattail, quenouille à feuilles étroites
narrow-leaved cattail, quenouille à feuilles étroites
(note separation between the male and female sections of the fruiting spike)
cattail, quenouille à feuilles larges
cattail, quenouille à feuilles larges
(note that there is no separation between the male and female sections of the fruiting spike)
cattail, quenouille à feuilles larges
(in fruit)