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narrow leaf & hybrid cattail (Typha angustifolia & T. x glauca)

Posted in Species Profiles

Picture of a sedge meadow with invading cattails.

Description: Aquatic wetland perennial which grows up to 10 feet tall. Leaves originate at the base of the stem and spread outward. Rhizomes forma a dense mat both anchoring the plant to the soil and enabling it to spread quickly throughout an area.

Habitat: Grows in moist nutrient rich soils in both saline and polluted waters including wetlands, roadsides, and ditches.

Invasive Traits: Dense stands and rhizome mats discourage the establishment of native plants. Extensive rhizomatous roots trap sediment which gradually creates unfavorable conditions for the survival of other marsh plants.

Picture of cattail seedhead.
Cattails produce large quantities of wind-dispersed seed, which remain in the seed bank for 100 years.

Control: Manipulation of water levels can disrupt airflow from shoots to roots. Burning and cutting have not been effective. Herbicide application via foliar spray can be effective if aquatic surfactants and penetrants are used, and the plants are covered adequately. This increases the risk of overspray, however. Herbicides must be approved for use in aquatic systems. Biological control with muskrats has been used to control populations.

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Further Reading

Cao, Berent, & Fusaro 2015

Photo Credits
  1. Cleveland Metroparks / Student Conservation Association
  2. Cleveland Metroparks
  3. Cleveland Metroparks
  4. Cleveland Metroparks