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Typha latifolia

Typha latifolia
Cattails are the biggest and most familiar of all
and plants. Their swaying brown flower clusters can
recognazed from great distance. They grow on every
shallow place in ponds, ditches and lakes and are the
most dominant species in the marshes.
And that is what there latin Genus name means: marshes.
They spread by thick rhizomes under the soil and create
an extensive network of fibrous roots. An other way
of spreading are the lovely familiar brown "hotdogs"
or "cigars" full of seeds. Plants flowers
in June and July and are wind pollinated.

cleaning the water

Cattails remove nitrate and phosfate from the water
and removes much of the other nutrients and most of
the dissolved solids in wastewater. This is done by
transporting oxygen through the hollow stem to the roots.
In this way the growth of aerobic bacteria is possible
on the bottom of the pond. In fact, the combination
of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria makes the
cleaning process highly effectiv.
The most abundant species , the broadleaf cattail
(Typha latifolia) is tested in different ways to measure
there cleaning capacity. In one experiment cattails were
exposed to crude oil but recovered from the initial
adverse effects of the oil.
If you want to know more about this subject, have a look
at ecology

giving shelter for small animals

Cattails give shelter for a lot of small watercreatures, like
waterinsects and spiders. In wintertime some insects use the
hollow stems act as a hibernation place.
If you want to know more about this subject, have a look at
sweep netting.

Cattail with sedboxes in fall.