Typha angustifolia L. (also lesser bulrush, narrowleaf cattail or lesser reedmace) is a perennial herbaceous plant of genus Typha. This cattail is an "obligate wetland" species that is commonly found in the northern hemisphere in brackish locations. The plant's leaves are flat, very narrow (¼"-½" wide), and 3'-6' tall when mature; 12-16 leaves arise from each vegetative shoot. At maturity, they have distinctive stalks that are about as tall as the leaves; the stalks are topped with brown, fluffy, sausage-shaped flowering heads. The plants have sturdy, rhizomatous roots that can extend 27" and are typically ¾"-1½" in diameter.
The geographic range of Typha angustifolia overlaps with the very similar species Typha latifolia (broadleaf or common cattail). T. angustifolia can be distinguished from T. latifolia by its narrower leaves and by a clear separation of two different regions (staminate flowers above and pistilate flowers below) on the flowering heads. The species hybridize as Typha x glauca (Typha angustifolia x T. latifolia) (white cattail); Typha x glauca is not a distinct species, but is rather a sterile F1 hybrid. Broadleaf cattail is usually found in shallower water than narrowleaf cattail.
Several parts of the plant are edible, including during various seasons the dormant sprouts on roots and bases of leaves, the inner core of the stalk, green bloom spikes, ripe pollen, and starchy roots. The edible stem is called bồn bồn in Vietnam.photo
- Tropicos Typha angustifolia
- The Plant List Typha angustifolia
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The distributional history of the narrow-leaved cattail, a brackish water species native to the Atlantic coast, is debatable. The plant is thought to have invaded inland slowly with the early canal, railroad, and highway systems. It began a rapid inland expansion in through Central New York in the first half of the 20th Century when the de-icing of highways using salt became more widespread.The link is to a preprint of the published article; see p. 46.
- Selbo, Sarena M.; Snow, Allison A. (2004). "The potential for hybridization between Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia in a constructed wetland" (PDF). Aquatic Botany. 78 (4): 361–369. doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2004.01.003. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- 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.
- "Typha angustifolia - Small reed mace". Plants for a Future. Retrieved 2011-03-16. External link in
- Typha angustifolia Photos, drawings, description from Nature Manitoba
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