|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|"Energy||106 kJ (25 kcal)|
|"Dietary fiber||4.5 g|
|"Vitamin A equiv.||
|"Pantothenic acid (B5)||
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using "US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Typha "// is a "genus of about 30 "species of "monocotyledonous "flowering plants in the family "Typhaceae. These plants have many common names, in "British English as bulrush, or reedmace, in "American English as cattail, punks, "corn dog grass, or water sausage, in "Australia as cumbungi or bulrush, in "Canada as bulrush or cattail, and in "New Zealand as raupō. Other taxa of plants may be known as "bulrush, including some "sedges in "Scirpus and related genera.
Typha are aquatic or semi-aquatic, rhizomatous, herbaceous "perennial plants.:925 The leaves are "glabrous (hairless), linear, alternate and mostly basal on a simple, jointless stem that bears the flowering spikes. The plants are "monoecious, with "unisexual flowers that develop in dense "racemes. The numerous male flowers form a narrow spike at the top of the vertical stem. Each male (staminate) flower is reduced to a pair of "stamens and hairs, and withers once the "pollen is shed. Large numbers of tiny female flowers form a dense, "sausage-shaped spike on the stem below the male spike. In larger species this can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 1 to 4 centimetres (0.4 to 2 in) thick. The seeds are minute, 0.2 millimetres (0.008 in) long, and attached to fine hairs. When ripe, the heads disintegrate into a cottony fluff from which the seeds "disperse by wind.
Typha are often among the first wetland plants to colonize areas of newly exposed wet mud, with their abundant wind-dispersed seeds. Buried seeds can survive in the soil for long periods of time. They "germinate best with sunlight and fluctuating temperatures, which is typical of many wetland plants that regenerate on mud flats. The plants also spread by rhizomes, forming large, interconnected stands.
Typha are considered to be dominant competitors in wetlands in many areas, and they often exclude other plants with their dense canopy. In the bays of the "Great Lakes, for example, they are among the most abundant wetland plants. Different species of cattails are adapted to different water depths.
Well-developed "aerenchyma make the plants tolerant of submersion. Even the dead stalks are capable of transmitting oxygen to the rooting zone.
Although Typha are native wetland plants, they can be aggressive in their competition with other native species. They have been problematic in many regions in North America, from the Great Lakes to the "Everglades. Native sedges are displaced and wet meadows shrink, likely as a response to altered hydrology of the wetlands and increased nutrient levels. An "introduced or hybrid species may be contributing to the problem. Control is difficult. The most successful strategy appears to be mowing or burning to remove the aerenchymous stalks, followed by prolonged flooding. It may be more important to prevent invasion by preserving water level fluctuations, including periods of drought, and to maintain infertile conditions.
The following names are currently accepted:
The most widespread species is Typha latifolia, which is distributed across the entire temperate northern hemisphere. It has also been introduced to Australia. T. angustifolia is nearly as widespread, but does not extend as far north; it may be introduced and "invasive in "North America. T. domingensis has a more southern "American distribution, and it occurs in Australia. T. orientalis is widespread in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. T. laxmannii, T. minima, and T. shuttleworthii are largely restricted to "Asia and southern "Europe.
The rushes are harvested and the leaves often dried for later use in chair seats. Re-wetted, the leaves are twisted and wrapped around the chair rungs to form a densely woven seat that is then stuffed (usually with the left over rush).
Many parts of the Typha plant are edible to humans. The starchy "rhizomes are nutritious with a protein content comparable to that of maize or rice. They can be processed into a "flour with 266 "kcal per 100 grams. They are most often harvested from late autumn to early spring. They are fibrous, and the starch must be scraped or sucked from the tough fibers. Plants growing in polluted water can accumulate "lead and "pesticide residues in their rhizomes, and these should not be eaten.
The outer portion of young plants can be peeled and the heart can be eaten raw or boiled and eaten like "asparagus. This food has been popular among the "Cossacks in Russia, and has been called "Cossack asparagus". The leaf bases can be eaten raw or cooked, especially in late spring when they are young and tender. In early summer the sheath can be removed from the developing green flower spike, which can then be boiled and eaten like "corn on the cob. In mid-summer when the male flowers are mature, the "pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener.
The roots may also be boiled, steamed, fried, or mashed with butter or sour cream much like potatoes.
For local tribes around "Lake Titicaca in "Peru and "Bolivia, Typha were among the most important plants and every part of the plant had multiple uses. For example, they were used to construct "rafts and other boats.
During "World War II, the "United States Navy used the down of Typha as a substitute for "kapok in "life vests and aviation jackets. Tests showed that even after 100 hours of submersion the buoyancy was still effective.
Typha stems and leaves can be used to make "paper. It is strong with a heavy texture and it is hard to bleach, so it is not suitable for industrial production of graphical paper. In 1853, considerable amounts of cattail paper were produced in "New York, due to a shortage of raw materials. In 1948, French scientists tested methods for annual harvesting of the leaves. Because of the high cost these methods were abandoned and no further research was done. Today Typha is used to make decorative paper.["citation needed]
Fibers up to 4 meters long can be obtained from the stems when they are mechanically or chemically treated with "sodium hydroxide. The stem fibers resemble "jute and can be used to produce raw textiles. The leaf fibers can be used as an alternative to "cotton and "linen in clothing. The yield of leaf fiber is 30 to 40 percent and Typha glauca can produce 7 to 10 tons per hectare annually.
The seed hairs were used by some "Indigenous peoples of the Americas["which?] as "tinder for starting fires. Some tribes also used Typha down to line "moccasins, and for bedding, diapers, baby powder, and "cradleboards. One Native American word for Typha meant "fruit for papoose's bed".["citation needed] Typha down is still used in some areas to stuff clothing items and pillows.
Typha can be dipped in wax or fat and then lit as a candle, the stem serving as a wick. Without the use of wax or fat it will smolder slowly, somewhat like "incense, and may repel insects.
One informal experiment has indicated that Typha are able to remove "arsenic from drinking water. The boiled rootstocks have been used as a "diuretic for increasing urination, or mashed to make a jelly-like paste for sores, boils, wounds, burns, scabs, and smallpox pustules.
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