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General: Cattail Family (Typhaceae). Cattails are herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial plants with long, slender green stalks topped with brown, fluffy, sausage-shaped flowering heads. Southern cattail plants are 15-40 dm tall. The spike-like, terminal, cylindric inflorescence has staminate flowers above and pistillate flowers below. The naked axis between the staminate and pistillate flowers is approximately 1-8 cm wide. The spike is bright yellow-to-orange-brown. The basal leaves are 6-18 mm wide when fresh, 5-15 mm wide when dry, and are gland-dotted on the inside of the leaf near the base. These plants are rhizomatous and colonial. This species is distributed across the southern half of the U.S.