An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions/Typhaceae

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Family 1.   TyphàceaeJ. St. Hil.Expos. Fam. 1: 60.   1805.
Cat-Tail Family.

Marsh or aquatic plants with creeping rootstocks, fibrous roots and glabrous erect, terete stems. Leaves linear, flat, ensiform, striate, sheathing at the base. Flowers monoecious, densely crowded in terminal spikes, which are subtended by spathaceous, usually fugacious bracts, and divided at intervals by smaller bracts, which are caducous, the staminate spikes uppermost. Perianth of bristles. Stamens 2-7, the filaments connate. Ovary 1, stipitate, 1-2-celled. Ovules anatropous. Styles as many as the cells of the ovary. Mingled among the stamens and pistils are bristly hairs, and among the pistillate flowers many sterile flowers with clavate tips. Fruit nutlike. Endosperm copious.

Only the following genus:

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Characters of the family. [Name ancient.]

About 10 species, of temperate and tropical regions. Type species: Typha lalifolia L.


Spikes with the pistillate and staminate usually contiguous, the former without bractlets; stigmas spatulate or rhomboid; pollen 4-grained. 1. T. latifolia.
Spikes with the pistillate and staminate usually distant, the former with bractlets; stigmas linear or oblong-linear; pollen in simple grains. 2. T. angustifolia.

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BB-0159 Typha latifolia.png 1.  Typha latifolia  L.
Broad-leaved Cat-tail.   Fig. 159.

Typha latifolia L. Sp. Pl. 971. 1753.

Stems stout, 4°–8° high. Leaves 3–12 broad; spikes dark brown or black, the staminate and pistillate portions usually contiguous, each 3–12 long and often 1 or more in diameter, the pistillate without bractlets; stigmas rhomboid or spatulate; pollen-grainsin 4’s; pedicels of the mature pistillate flowers 1–1½ long.

In marshes, throughout North America except the exterme north. Ascends to 1600 ft. in the Adirondacks and to 2200 ft. in Virginia. Also in Europe and Asia. June-July. Fruit, Aug.-Sept. Called also Great-Reedmace, Cat-o'-nine-tail, Marsh Beetle, Marsh Pestle, Cattail Flag, Flax-tail. Blackamoor, Black-cap, Bull-segg, Bubrush, Water-torch, Candlewick.

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2.  Typha angustifolia  L.
Narrow-leaved Cat-tail.   Fig. 160.
BB-0160 Typha angustifolia.png

Typha angustifolia L. Sp. Pl. 971. 1753.

Stems slender, 5°-10° high. Leaves mostly narrower than those of the preceding species, 2"-6" wide; spikes light brown, the staminate and pistillate portions usually distant, the two together sometimes 15' long, the pistillate, when mature 2"-8" in diameter, and provided with bractlets; stigmas linear or linear-oblong; pollen-grains simple; pedicels of the mature pistillate flowers ½" long or less.

Abundant in marshes along the Atlantic Coast from Nova Scotia to Florida, but also occurring rather rarely inland, and in California. Also in tropical America and South America. Also in Europe and Asia. June-July. Fruit, Aug.-Sept. Called also Lesser Reed-mace and most of the names of the preceding species.