Aquarium and Pond Plants of the World
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  Typha L.

Common names: bulrush, cattail, cumbungi

Family: Typhaceae

Could be confused with: Butomus, Carex, Iris, Sparganium.

Native distribution: Cosmopolitan.

Species commonly cultivated:
Typha angustifolia L. (America)
T. domingensis Pers. (Cosmopolitan)
T. orientalis C. Presl (Pacific, Australia, New Zealand)
T. latifolia L. (U.S., Europe)
T. minima Funck ex Hoppe (Eurasia)

Adventive distribution: Several species have been introduced in countries around the world. Typha spp. appear to be highly adaptable and establish easily in most regions.

Weed status: Typha spp. grow prolifically and are regularly considered pests; they block waterways and choke artificial marshlands.

Habit: Tall, emergent, narrow leafed plant.

Brief description: Perennial. Stems erect, connected by creeping rhizome. Leaves distichous, sheathed basally, alternate, forming a compact basal rosette; leaf blade linear, emergent; margin entire. Inflorescence a single, cylindrical spike; upper flowers female; lower flowers male; flowers densely packed, individual flowers barely recognizable. Dispersal by numerous aerial and floating seeds and stolons.

Natural habitat: All types of shallow waterways and wet ground.

Additional comments: Often forms dense monocultures in shallow water. An important refuge for many animals associated with waterways.


Typha domingensis, T. latifolia; inset: T. latifolia.
Drawing: © University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, used with permission; Inset photo: © Delaware Wildflowers

Typha latifolia.
Photo: © D. Tenaglia

Typha latifolia.
Photo: © John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,