IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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Common Cattail is a wetland species that most people are familiar with. Sometimes it hybridizes with Typha angustifolia (Narrow-Leaved Cattail), producing plants with characteristics that are intermediate between these two parents. Such plants are referred to Typha × glauca (Hybrid Cattail). Because the characteristics of Common Cattail, Narrow-Leaved Cattail, and Hybrid Cattail overlap with each other, it can be difficult to identify individual plants in the field. Generally, Common Cattail is larger in size with green to greyish blue leaves that span over ½" across. Its pistillate spikes are often ¾" across or more and they can exceed 1' in length. The staminate and pistillate spikes of Common Cattail are adjacent to each other or separated by less than ½". Narrow-Leaved Cattail has slender green leaves that are ½" across or less. Its pistillate spikes are less than ¾" across and they are less than 1' in length. The staminate and pistillate spikes of Narrow-Leaved Cattail are separated from each other by more than ½" (usually by a few inches).

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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