Cattails - Typha sp.

  • Classified as an Emergent Plant
  • Growth pattern: Large clumps in mineral and organic rich soils, and where the soil is flooded. They grow up to six feet tall with ribbon-like leaves that taper to a point, and are found at the water's edge and at depths of 3 to 4 feet [Swistock].
  • Flowers: Taller than the leaves. Male flowers are at the tip, female flowers are below [Swistock].
  • Value: They "provide food, cover and nesting sites for a variety of wildlfe.... The underwater stems also provide habitat for young fish" [Swistock]. Often Green Tree Frogs are found on the leaves during the daytime.
  • Control: Cattails can become a nuisance that are difficult to erradicate. Methods for control are repeated mowing, herbicide, cutting, pulling, and backhoe removal.
  • Nutrient Management: Overabundant plant growth is usually caused by excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) that can come from runoff from barnyards, crop fields, septic systems, lawns, or golf courses. For long-term control, it is necessary to reduce the nutrient problems [Swistock].


  • City of Waco. Plants of the Lake Waco Wetlands.
  • Photo: Courtesy of S. Peregrine Johnson.