Wetland Plants of Wisconsin

Typha angustifolia L.
narrow-leaf cat-tail
Family: Typhaceae
in flower
space between male and female spikes
in fruit

Typha angustifolia is a very common and well-known plant of wet, sunny sites. The long, nearly parallel-sided leaves and cylindrical brown spikes of the inflorescence are familiar to most residents of Wisconsin. The space separating the male (upper) and female portions of the inflorescence distinguishes Typha angustifolia from Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail) which lacks a clear space between the two spikes.

Typha angustifolia is very aggressive, to the point that it displaces most other marsh species and therefore decreases biodiversity. It is found throughout Wisconsin, the incomplete distribution reflected in the map at right is more an indication of reluctance of botanists to collect vouchers of such a common and large plant.

known Wisconsin distribution


Contact the author