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Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)
Aquatic Vegetation, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)

General: Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis) is an erect, emergent aquatic species with long, narrow leaves that usually grow 5 to 7 feet above the water surface. Flowers are born densely on a spike, the "cat tail." Cattail is the tall plant with long narrow leaves often seen on the edges of ponds.

There are three species in North America, all of which hybridize. This species can be recognized by height (5-13 ft tall), a narrow blade (1/4 to 3/4 inches wide), a short (1/2 to 3 inch) piece of naked axis between the staminate and pistillate flowers, and the blade is gland-dotted on inside of the leaf near the base. The distributions of these species overlap, and where species occur together, hybrids are common, making certain identification sometimes difficult.

Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)

Southern Cattail can be found around ponds, spring pools, seeps, and along rivers and other places with slow-moving water in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones.

Family: Cattail (Typhaceae)

Other names:

Plant Form: Perennial emergent plant with a single, stiff stem; many linear leaves; and a cylindrical flowerhead.

Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)

Height: Stem and leaves usually 5 to 7 feet above water surface (5 to 13 feet total).

Stems: Upright stems grow from long rhizomes in the mud. Stem erect and stiff.

Leaves: Blades long (5 to 7 feet) and linear (1/4 to 3/4 inch wide). Blades attached near the base of the stem. Blade gland-dotted on inside near base.

Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)
Pistillate flowers (staminate flowers are gone).

Flowers: Blooms June to July. Inflorescence on a stalk, about as tall as the leaf tips. Staminate and pistillate flowers grow separately on the same stalk (staminate above pistillate), with a naked gap on the stem of 1/2 to 3 inches.

Seeds: Small seed with long hairs attached; blow in the wind.

Habitat: Ponds, streams, river banks, and other wet areas. Sometimes grows out of the water on the edge of water body.

Elevation: To about 5,000 ft.

Distribution: Warm temperate and tropical areas worldwide.

Comments: All three North America species hybridize.

Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)
Naked axis between the staminate (upper) and pistillate (lower) flowers
Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)
Naked axis and staminate flowers
Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)
Naked axis and pistillate flowers
Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis)
Pistillate flower and leaf at a spring in Red Rocks

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 141116

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