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
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.
Cattails (Typha) bring oxygen
into their roots and by doing this, they
transport oxygen to the bottom of
the pond, and so providing the
aerobic bacteria with oxygen.
two kinds of cattails
The Broad-Leaved Cattail (Typha latifolia) is about the same hight
as the Small-leaved Cattail (Typha angustifolia).
Both species reach the same hight, up to 3 meter high.
The Broad-Leaved Cattail grows in shallow pondwater,
The Small-leaved Cattail prefers to grow in deeper water
But without each other they grow both in shallow and deeper
The easiest difference is color of the cigar or hotdogs: brown in
the Broad-Leaved Cattail and green in the small-leaved Cattail.
cultivating the cattails
These wetland plants prefer a depth of 50cm , but more shallow water
when they are young. Its also possible to use the seed
but only if the the seeeds are covered by a very thin layer
of water. With thanks to miss S. Toet.
Problems with cattails
The biggest problem is that they will definitely spread,
these plants are highly invasive in youre pond,
and you have to cut and remove them every winter.
The dwarf bullrush or Typha minima is just half the
seize of the cattails and more important , its not
invasive. So this this is a fine solution for youre
Fresh water can be cleaned of nitates, phosfates
organic materials by some waterplants.
If this subject has youre interest have
a look at these pages: