Cattail Facts

Cattail Facts
Cattail, also known as bulrush, reed mace or corndog grass, is a type of monocotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Typhaceae. Cattail can be found in the Northern hemisphere. It grows on the margins of lakes and various types of wetlands. Cattail plays important role in the wild. It serves as source of food and shelter for various birds and mammals. Cattail is occasionally classified as weed due to ability to quickly conquer new habitats and prevent development of native species of plants. People use cattail as a source of food, medicine and building materials.
Interesting Cattail Facts:
Cattail has upright, jointless stem that can reach 3 to 10 feet in height.
Cattail has simple, strap-like green leaves. They are alternately arranged on the stem.
Cattail produces individual male and female flowers on the same stem (monoecious plant). Male flowers form dense spike on top of the stem. Each flower consists of pair of stamens and hairs. Male flowers wilt after release of pollen. Female flowers are grouped in the brown, sausage-like spike below the male spike.
Cattail belongs to the group of wind-pollinated plants.
Cattail produces numerous miniature seed equipped with tiny hairs which facilitate wind dispersal.
Cattail propagates via seed and parts of rhizome.
Cattail has strong rhizome that spreads horizontally beneath the surface of the ground. Thanks to strong structure and fast growth of rhizome, cattail can be used to prevent erosion of the soil.
Cattail rhizome contains more starch than potato and more proteins than rice. It can be ground into flour, or boiled and used as vegetable in human diet.
Stem of young cattail can be cooked or consumed raw as asparagus-like vegetable. Green (immature) flower spikes can be boiled and consumed like corn on the cob. Pollen can be used as flour or as a thickening agent for various meals. Young leaves are edible also.
Cattail seed are used as a source of food for cattle and chickens in some parts of the world.
Fluff (cottony hairs) from seed heads can be used for the filling of life jackets, pillows, mattresses, diapers and basketballs.
Fluff from the seed heads can be also used as insulating material instead of glass wool in the buildings.
Cattail leaves are used in the industry of paper, furniture (such as chair seating) and mats. Entire plant can be used for the construction of rafts and boats.
Cattail can be used in medical purposes also. Fluff from the seed heads can be used in treatment of sores and burns on the skin, while rhizome accelerates healing of the wounds. Roots and leaves can be used in treatment of stomach cramps.
Cattail is perennial plant which means that it lives more than two years in the wild.

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