Cattails are most easily identified by their brown, cylindrical flowers.
Cattail stems are four to eight feet tall with no branches and have dense brown cylindrical flower (female) with yellowish spike at the top (male flower). The flowers bloom through fall before turning into a white fluffy mass. Cattails have flat to slightly rounded leaves that are thin and long. Cattails can be partially submerged or in boggy areas with no permanently standing water.
Typha is the genus, and there are 30 species of cattail within that genus. It is a perennial that grows in transitional areas that are going from wet to dry land. Muskrats eat the rootstock and can create areas of open water. Cattails grow aggressively in wetlands from sea level to 7,000 feet and need managing like weeds. Many parts of the plant are edible at different stages of growth and have been used by humans as a food source throughout history.
Cattails can be found all across the United States in wet lowlands and shallow waters.
Seeds, roots (creeping rhizomes)